How to Hit Out of a Sand Trap

How to Hit Out of a Sand Trap – Bunker Golf Tips

By: Dan Davis, PGA Professional, Thousand Hills Golf Course

How do I hit out of a sand trap? That’s a common question for many golfers–bunkers can be one of the most frustrating places on the course. But they don’t need to be, watch the video below as Dan gives golf tips to help you out of your next bunker cleanly & safely. Some of the advice may be surprising–did you know that to hit out of a sand trap, you don’t actually want to hit the ball? Watch and learn more! If you’d like to see more, visit our Missouri golf instruction page for more tips and advice.

>>DAN DAVIS, PGA PROFESSIONAL: Hi! I’m Dan Davis, I’m the golf professional here at Thousand Hills Golf Resort in Branson, Missouri and today we’re going to talk a little bit about how to hit out of a sand bunker. We’re going to cover a couple of different shots and a couple techniques that might help you do this a little better next time you happen to land in one of these bunkers.

Here at Thousand Hills we’ve got some pretty high lifts, I’ve chosen a fairly level spot here in the bunker. As a general rule, right here the ball is lying pretty well, you want to judge the distance of the shot basically by the amount of sand that you hit out of the bunker. And, again, remember what I said there–on the amount of sand that you hit. You don’t want to strike the golf ball at all with the golf club on this shot.

What happens is the sand surface is here, you actually hit the sand first on the way down and the sand is between the ball and the club face and it pushes the shot a little bit and keeps you from having one of those skull-type shots.

Let me demonstrate this, what I’m going to try to do–and remember, you cannot ground your club while playing in a match or a tournament–but we’re going to just demonstrate by putting a little line here about 2 inches behind the ball when you’re practicing this. When you’re out on the course you can’t really do it.
So what I want to do is enter the sand here
*gestures to line in the sand*
and I want to disperse this circle of sand, I basically want to throw this out of the bunker and the ball will follow and hopefully we’ll get a good shot here.

Dig in just a little bit with your feet, we want a fairly steep swing with our sand wedge and we’ll see what happens.

*swings, hitting the ball out of the bunker*

About the right distance, a little off to the right. Not too bad.

The next shot we’re going to talk about is–I think everybody, if you’ve played enough golf, unfortunately, you’ve run into a situation where the ball flies in from pretty high and gets almost buried.

*taps ball into sand, partially burying it*

This is a pretty bad one right here, you barely see the top of the ball. A lot of people get nervous on a shot like this. You really wonder if you can even get it out of the bunker. So one thing that I think might help you with this shot, what I’m going to do is I’m actually going to shut the face down a little bit.

*Dan adjusts the sand wedge*

And what that does, it actually causes a little bit more digging action with the club face and it actually sends the sand a little more up vertically than horizontal. So it pushes the sand more straight up and causes that ball to pop out of there a little better.

One thing to remember on this shot, when you’re hitting a shot like this using a closed club face, and you’re really coming straight down into it, you’re going to get somewhat of a knuckleball–that balls going to go a little bit farther than one where you’re taking minimal sand; these shots get a little bit more spin. So just allow for a little bit of distance. You do need to swing fairly hard and we’re still going to go for about an inch, maybe two behind the ball with that steep swing and we’ll give it a shot. Hopefully I can get it out of this bunker!

*swings, hitting the ball out of the bunker*

Ok, not too bad! So remember, don’t be afraid of these shots, just try to understand what you’re up against. On a longer bunker shot you’re going to take a little less sand, on a short bunker shot you’re going to take a little more sand, and always remember do not let the club face strike the ball-we’re going to let the sand pop that ball out of the bunker for you and hopefully you’ll get some pretty decent shots. Thanks!

To get more free golf lessons from Dan, visit our Missouri Golf Instruction page to get more great videos and articles to help improve your game.