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10 Strategies for Escaping Greenside Bunkers

Greenside bunkers, also known as sand traps, frequently present a considerable challenge on the golf course, putting players of all abilities to the test. Nevertheless, rather than fearing these sandy obstacles, adopting effective strategies can greatly improve your bunker play. Here are ten practical tips designed to help you navigate greenside bunkers successfully, potentially lowering your scores in the process.

  1. Choose the Right Club

Select a club with a rounded sole or significant bounce, such as a lob wedge, sand wedge, or gap wedge. This design helps the club glide over the sand rather than digging in, facilitating a smoother exit for both sand and ball.

  1. Optimise the Bounce

Understanding and using the bounce of your club is essential. Ensure your clubface is square to slightly open at setup, and keep the shaft neutral to avoid negating the bounce. This setup prevents the club from digging into the sand, making your shots more effective.

  1. Position the Ball Correctly

Place the ball forward in your stance. This position allows you to strike the sand first, then the ball, which is essential for a successful bunker shot. Positioning the ball too far back can lead to hitting the ball first, potentially sending it too far or not out of the bunker at all.

  1. Establish a Firm Foundation

Dig your feet into the sand until the soles are covered. This lowers your stance, adjusting the bottom point of your swing to ensure the clubhead enters the sand before the ball, enhancing the effectiveness of the glide.

  1. Execute a Full Swing

Don’t hesitate to make a full swing. While it might feel risky, engaging the proper technique ensures you hit the sand before the ball, minimising the chance of overshooting the green.

  1. Adjust Technique Based on Clubhead Speed

Tailor your technique to your clubhead speed. Golfers with high clubhead speeds might need more lofted clubs and subtle adjustments, whereas those with lower speeds can use less lofted clubs with techniques more akin to a regular full swing.

  1. Master Sand Displacement

Practice getting comfortable with the idea of displacing sand. The goal in a bunker is to move sand onto the green, which helps lift the ball out effectively. This skill reduces the likelihood of an incomplete follow-through and improves shot accuracy.

  1. Maintain Consistent Swing Speed

Keep your swing speed consistent with how you would during a full swing. Practicing bunker shots after warming up with full swings can help maintain rhythm and speed, essential for effective bunker play.

  1. Choose the Easiest Exit

If you lack confidence in bunkers, always aim for the simplest route to the green. Focus on getting the ball out safely, and as you gain proficiency, you can start aiming closer to the pin.

  1. Practice Makes Perfect

Regularly practice your bunker shots. Work on setting up correctly, opening your clubface, and hitting the sand first. As you become more familiar with making solid contact, experiment with different clubs to find what works best for varying distances.

Greenside bunkers should not be a source of anxiety. By mastering proper techniques, dedicating time to practice, and knowing how to utilise your clubs efficiently, you can transform a difficult bunker shot into a successful and game-saving move.