Many PGA Tour pros will tell you that the bunker shot is the easiest in golf. This is a pretty demoralizing statement when you are having difficulty getting the ball out of the sand much less near the hole.
The truth is that for amateurs the bunker shot is the hardest shot in golf. Our short-game testing data proves it. So what’s the Tour-player secret that makes bunker shots so simple? You’re about to find out.
First, you need to understand that your sand wedge is designed differently than any other club in your bag. The back of the bottom of the club is lower than the leading edge. This allows the club to skid through the sand and not dig too deep. The secret to hitting consistent bunker shots is to take long, shallow divots and hit the sand in the same spot each time.
Sure, it sounds simple, but this approach can make a profound difference in your bunker play. Find a practice bunker and knock some sand out of the bunker. Notice how far the sand flies, where the divot starts and the sound of the club hitting the sand. Ask yourself these questions: Was the divot long and shallow? Are your divots starting back of the center of your stance? Does the contact with the sand sound like a "thump" or a "thud"? (You want to hear "thump.")
Once you are controlling your divots, place a ball slightly forward of the middle of your stance. Stay focused on the divot of sand as if the ball was a large speck of sand. Make the same swing as before, taking a long, shallow divot. This swing will explode the ball onto the green. Your bunker success depends on your ability to take the same long, shallow divot and start the divot in the same place every time.
Distance control is relatively easy. Just hit the sand short, medium and long to hit short, medium and long bunker shots. You can control the distance with the length and speed of your swing. Put these ideas into practice and maybe you too will be able to proclaim the bunker shot the easiest shot in golf. Watching this video will help too:
Golf Magazine Top 100 Charlie King is director of instruction at Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Ga. He is the star of the most-popular video in golf.com history, "The Proper Way to Throw Your Club," which has been viewed more than 1.8 million times. You can also read his golf tips blog here.