How to set up for a bunker shot

My aim here is to explain the technique as simply as I can to help you escape sand more consistently.

Firstly, understand that a bunker shot is the only one in the game where you are not trying to strike the ball – instead, you are aiming to hit the sand an inch or so before the ball.

To get it out, you need to use the bounce of the club correctly (this is the part of the sole that sits below the leading edge and causes the club to ‘bounce’ through the sand without digging too far in).

So set the ball forward in your stance at address and open the face of the club a fraction before you take your grip (this will also increase the bounce angle).

To make sure the ball comes out on line and not right of target you’ll need to aim your feet, hips and shoulders a little left of the flag.

From there, just aim to make a full, flowing swing and you should see how softly the ball emerges from the trap.

To get a feel for this in practice, make a few swings without a ball, simply aiming to splash some sand onto the green.

This should help you get a feel for what to do, how hard to swing and how much sand to take.

Read more top short game tips

Try this!

Shuffle your feet into the sand. This improves your stability, lowers your centre of gravity and importantly, will give you an idea for how soft the sand is.


It’s always courteous to tap the sand off your soles before walking on the green after playing out of a bunker. This prevents others having to brush away any sand you might have brought onto the green with you.