Sand Play

Let’s help your bunker shot and lower your score around the green.

Sand play or bunker shot:

Before we look into the bunker shot, let’s look at these two definitions.

Addressing the ball: Means positioning your feet and grounding the club.

Taking your stance: Means simply positioning your feet without grounding the club.

The rule for sand play:

A sand trap or “Bunker” is classified as a hazard. A ball in a hazard is subject to the rule governing a ball in play in a hazard. The rule states that a player may not ground his club (touch the sand) while setting up for the bunker shot or during the backswing. He may only take his stance. The sand may only be contacted during the forward swing. Failure to observe this rule penalizes the player two stroke (see rule 13).


 Taking your stance in the bunker:

When executing the bunker shot, without touching the sand with your club, place your feet in an open stance (turned more to the left as shown).

Position the ball opposite the left heel to promote hitting the sand behind the ball.


Two vertical lines:

Before placing your hands on your club, make sure the two vertical lines of your club head are pointing to the right of the target.

The letter ”V” will be created with the club head open and your feet open.

This setup provides added loft and backspin and prevents the club head from closing and digging in the sand.


The stroke:

The feeling of making this swing (it is like producing a descending blow during the downswing).

Getting the ball out of the bunker by hitting the sand first needs a more powerful motion than just hitting out of the grass. The club needs to hit the sand behind the ball (about 2 inches behind the ball). The ball will then be lifted out of the bunker by the sand and by this more powerful motion. The sole of the club has what is called a flange (the flange is additional steel added to the club placed lower than the leading edge of the club face, it will help the player not to penetrate the sand too deeply when used correctly).

flangeBefore making your shot:

Open the club head first, then taking your grip will help you to use the flange of the club as it is meant to be used.


Place a circle around the ball as shown in the picture. This will indicate where to hit the sand behind the ball. The sand will propel the ball out of the bunker. The ball will come out on a cushion of sand which is why you need to swing about twice as hard as for a normal shot.

Contacting the sand in the right spot will eliminate the circle in the sand which usually indicates proper execution of the shot.


Long bunker shots: 

Bunker shots from 50 yards away and longer should be played as if you were on grass where the ball is contacted first. The hazard rule still applies.

This photo indicates acceleration during the forward swing and a completed follow through.

practice bunker

Why practice in the bunkers?

Regular practice in the bunkers will develop confidence in executing these shots and you will become more consistent in getting the ball up and down around the greens.