Live Lesson: Bunker Drill

Live Lesson: Bunker Drill

3 minute read

Getting out of a bunker can be one of the most challenging shots in golf. Often, amateur golfers struggle with either taking too much sand or too little, which leads to inconsistent results. Whether you're hitting it thin, hitting behind the ball, or smacking the side of the bunker, you're not alone! This live lesson with Coach Mike will guide you through the key fundamentals and tips you need to master the bunker shot like a pro.

The Fundamentals

Ball Placement

The first aspect to focus on is ball placement. This can vary from golfer to golfer, so it's important to practice and figure out the ideal position for you. Some may need the ball more forward, while others may need it further back.

Knee Flex

Another crucial point is to maintain knee flex when in the bunker. This is vital for stability and enables you to take advantage of the club's bounce to help splash the ball out.

Handle Positioning

Unlike chipping, where you may want the handle higher, in bunker shots you should aim to get the handle lower. This will help you get the ball up and out of the sand with ease.

Body Mechanics

In bunker play, think of your lower body as the stabilizer and your upper body as the motor. Your lower body keeps you stable, while your upper body controls the shot.

The Umbrella Drill: A Simple Exercise for Perfection

One of the most effective drills for mastering bunker shots is the Umbrella Drill. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Draw a center line in the sand where your ball would be.
  2. Add three lines in the sand perpendicular to the center line.
  3. Practice hitting shots while aiming to disturb the sand at the right moment, progressively moving from line one to line three.

The Umbrella Drill helps you find the perfect balance between using your torso and arms for optimum control and power.

Tips for a More Effective Bunker Shot

Weight Distribution

Lean into your lead foot to establish weight distribution and balance. This will help you not to fall back during the shot.

Swing Type: U-Swing vs V-Swing

You can opt for either a U-swing, which has a wider arc and is generally used by more advanced players for a 'chunk and run' effect, or a V-swing, which offers a more vertical arc to catch more of the ball first.

Engage the Bounce

One of the most overlooked aspects of a bunker shot is the club's bounce. A common mistake is to set up with the clubface square. Instead, tilt it open; this will engage the bounce and make it easier to loft the ball out of the sand.


Mastering the bunker shot is all about focusing on key fundamentals like ball placement, knee flex, and handle positioning. Incorporate drills like the Umbrella Drill to fine-tune your technique, and remember to engage the bounce of the club. With consistent practice and these tips in mind, you’ll find yourself escaping bunkers with ease and improving your overall game.

So, the next time you find yourself in a bunker, remember these golf swing tips, and confidently play your way onto the green!

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Check out our Swing Tip Library. 

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