Beach Time: Tips & Drills to Make Bunker Shots EASY

Mastering the bunker shot is a pivotal and unavoidable skill needed in golf, transforming what many view as a traumatic predicament instead into an opportunity for a simple recovery. With the right technique and correct club choice, navigating bunkers can become a less daunting and more strategic part of your game. This guide dives into the essentials of executing a bunker shot and offers practice drills and tips to improve your bunker play. Additionally, we'll address common mistakes to steer clear of, ensuring your sand game improves consistently.

Understanding Bunker Shots

Bunker shots are unique; unlike all other shots, they typically require you to hit the sand, not the ball. This technique creates a cushion of sand that propels the ball out of the bunker and onto the green. The key lies in firstly selecting the right wedge, adopting the correct stance, and applying the proper swing technique.

Choosing the Right Wedge

The choice of wedge is critical when playing a bunker shot. Wedges vary in loft, bounce, and grind, each designed to perform in different conditions and for different types of shots.

  • Sand Wedge (SW): Typically ranging from 54° to 58° in loft, sand wedges are designed specifically for bunker play. They have a wider sole which provides more bounce, allowing the club to glide through the sand without "digging" in.
  • Lob Wedge (LW): With lofts between 58° and 64°, lob wedges are ideal for high, shorter shots to escape deep bunkers and for shots requiring a steep descent angle.

At Compendium Golf, we offer a wide selection of wedges to suit every player's needs. From high-bounce wedges perfect for soft turf and fluffy sand, to low-bounce options for tighter lies and firmer/compact sand conditions, finding the right tool for your sand game has never been easier. Visit to see our wide selection of Wedges available to buy. New stock is uploaded on a daily too, so keep your eyes peeled for great deals for individual or complete wedge sets!

Proper Stance and Swing Technique

  • Stance: Open your stance by aligning your feet left of the target (for right-handed golfers), which encourages an outside-to-in swing path. Place the ball slightly forward in your stance to ensure the club hits the sand first.
  • Swing: Focus on maintaining a full, smooth swing. Your goal is to splash the sand out of the bunker, with the ball riding the wave (as demonstrated above perfectly by Phil Mickelson). Keep your hands passive, allowing the loft of the wedge to lift the ball rather than trying to "lift" or help the ball up.

Practice Drill to Improve Your Bunker Play

  • The Line Drill: Draw a straight line in the sand and place a ball about two inches infront of it. Practice hitting the line with your swing, creating a consistent divot that starts at the line and extends forward. This drill helps you focus on hitting the sand first, not the ball.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Avoiding the Sand: Attempting to hit the ball first in a bunker shot often leads to thin shots that race across the green or directly into the lip, potentially leaving you with an even harder shot to follow. Embrace the fact that you need to hit the sand to execute the shot correctly.
  • Decelerating on the Swing: A common error is slowing down the club before impact, usually out of fear of hitting the ball too hard. Maintain your swing speed through the sand for consistent shots.
  • Poor Club Selection: Not all bunkers are equal, and neither are all wedge shots. Assess the lie, the sand type, and the distance to the flag before choosing your wedge.

Tips for Effective Bunker Play

  • Understand Sand Conditions: Different sand conditions require different approaches. Soft, fluffy sand calls for a wedge with more bounce, while hard, compact sand is better suited to a wedge with less bounce.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Spend time in the practice bunker. Familiarity = confidence, and confidence is key when facing challenging bunker shots.
  • Visualise the Shot: Before executing the shot, take a moment to visualise the ball's path out of the bunker and onto the green. Visualisation is a powerful tool for improving performance in all aspects of golf.


Bunker play doesn't have to be a source of anxiety on the golf course. With the right technique, the correct equipment, and a bit of practice, you can turn your bunker shots into a highlight of your golf game. Remember, the perfect wedge for your bunker game is waiting for you at Compendium Golf. Our wide selection of wedges, coupled with our expert advice, ensures that you can choose the ideal club to complement your style and improve your performance in the sand. By avoiding common mistakes, employing effective practice drills, and applying the tips provided, you'll be well on your way to mastering the art of the bunker shot. 

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