Golf Bunker Shots Lessons :  Distance Control

This is the Advanced Golf Bunker Shots Distance Control Lesson. This lesson is to help you adjust to the different length shots you will face from the bunkers. That is one of the great yet difficult things about golf. Things change...for every shot.

You need creativity and touch. Some say that you are born with touch...well...maybe tour level touch...but we can all get better touch through practice and experience. Please use this lesson to help you develop your 'touch' so that you can hit shots of varying lengths. Getting the ball close to the hole so that you only have a short putt is the key to making your 'sandy' and saving a shot on your scorecard.

Step One : Address Position

  • Please see the Advanced Golf Sand Shots Setup Lesson for more complete details about the proper address position. A couple of keys:
  • Open stance.
  • Open club face.
  • Ball position in line with your left instep.
  • Weight leaning slightly more onto left foot.
  • Click Here To Review The Advanced Golf Sand Shots Setup Lesson

Step Two : The Backswing

  • For the most part your backswing for all your green side sand shots does not change. You always want to take your club back to the set swing position.
  • Your left arm should be parallel to the ground.
  • Your club should be pointing to the sky. Your arm and club should form an 'L'.
  • It may seem strange that your backswing does not change. All the other short game shots you play, the distance you hit your shots is dictated by the length of your backswing.
  • Now the distance you hit your sand shot is going to be dictated by the length of your follow through.

There is no specific range in which you should use each technique. It will take practice and experience to determine what distance you hit shots for each follow through position. It is up to you to figure which length follow through works best for you given the variety of sand shots you will face on the golf course. Please use the following examples as guidelines to help you determine your own distances.

Example #1 :
Short Golf Bunker Shots

  • Use a short follow through.
  • Your hands and club should only finish about waist high.
  • You can think of trying to point your club at your target. This will keep your swing short and control your distance.
  • If you need a little extra height to get over a high lip, try using the same technique with a 60 degree lob wedge.

Example #2 :
Medium Length Golf Bunker Shots

You have hit your ball into a fair size bunker and the pin is in the middle of the green. You have room to both fly the ball as well as allow some roll on the green.

This is the type of sand shot that you will face the most often during your rounds. Of course each shot will be a slight variation of the original. When faced with a medium length bunker shot you will want to...

  • Let your follow through mirror your backswing.
  • Get to the set swing position on the follow through.
  • Your right arm should be parallel to the ground.
  • Your right arm and club should form the 'L' on the other side.
  • Make sure your hips and chest are facing your target.

Example #3 :
Long Golf Bunker Shots

You have hit your ball into the back of a very long bunker and the pin is on the far side of the green. You have a very long way to fly the ball and you have tons of room for it to roll on the green to the hole.

People say that this is the toughest shot in golf. Now...I'm not saying it is easy but with a long follow through and perhaps a change in club (Please see Advanced Golf Bunker Shots Club Selection Lesson) it may become less intimidating. When faced with such a long bunker shot you want to...

  • Make a full finish follow through.
  • Your hands should be at shoulder height. This will maximize both height and distance in order to get the ball to the hole.
  • Your hips should be facing the target.
  • Your chest and shoulders should rotate enough that your right shoulder will be closer to the target than your left.

There is one other option for this type of shot. If you have a low lip in front and a lot of green to work with you could...

  • Take a lower lofted club (9 iron, 8 iron)
  • Use either the short or medium follow through technique.
  • Your shot should come out pretty fast and have lots of roll. This is sometimes easier to get close. But either shot needs practice.

Thank you for taking the Advanced Golf Bunker Shots Distance Control Lesson. Understanding this concept will give you the ability to hit a variety of shots from the bunkers in order to get the ball close to the hole. The final lesson in the Advanced Golf Bunker Shots series is designed to help you on the course. It is the Advanced Golf Bunker Shots Preshot Routine Lesson.

Good luck with your practicing and playing. May you reach your golf goals sooner with the help of

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