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Great bunker play made easy!

Great bunker play made easy!

Great bunker play made easy!

Hi, I’m Mel Sole, Director of Instruction at the Mel Sole Golf School, headquartered at Pawleys Plantation Golf and Country Club in Pawleys Island, SC.  We conduct 1, 2 and 3-day golf schools, hourly golf lessons, and senior golf schools—any golf instruction program your heart desires. Give us a call at 800-624-4653 or 843-237-4993.  We will be happy to book a commuter school or a package that contains accommodations, golf, and golf school.

Monthly Golf Tip by the Mel Sole Golf School.

Watching the touring Pros hitting the ball out of a greenside bunker makes it look like an easy shot. However, this is a difficult and intimidating shot to the average golfer who attends my golf school. Therefore, we need to clarify the technique to make the process a little easier.

Like Real Estate agents who say the key to success is Location, Location, Location, the key to good bunker play is Technique, Technique, Technique. Without good technique, you will never be a good bunker player, and with poor technique, you will very seldom get the ball out of the bunker, never mind close to the hole!!

Here are the keys to good technique:

Address Position.

Weight is on the front foot, and the ball position is 2 inches inside the front heel. Thus, the stance is slightly open.

Great bunker play made easy!




Control the distance of the ball flight by controlling your backswing. Try swinging the club to various positions on the backswing using the same “clock” technique I use in my pitching article ( see Pitching – Try the Clock Method) and see how far the ball flies with each position. This will help you determine the correct strength for each particular distance.

Great bunker play made easy!



This is where things start to unravel for most amateur golfers. The biggest key is to start the downswing with a good body rotation and not with the arms! If you start down with the arms, there will be a tendency to hit too far behind the ball causing the ball to stay in the bunker.

The second biggest key is to keep the lead arm straight throughout the impact area.  If the left arm breaks down, you are shortening the distance between you and the ball and a “sculled” shot results, with the ball either slamming into the face of the bunker or screaming over the green.

Great bunker play made easy!




Finish your bunker shots with an abbreviated follow-through, again to control the distance. But – there must be follow-through. If the club stops in the sand, again, the ball will stay in the bunker.


There must be a follow-through.



Most amateurs never practice bunker play.  And the most common excuse I hear is, “The practice facility I practice at does not have a bunker.” If this is the case, find out when the last tee time is at the club you play, go out onto the course when there is no one behind you, drop two or three balls into a bunker on each hole and hit some bunker shots. If you do this for 9 holes, you will have had about 27 practice shots in a bunker. Do this once a month, working on the techniques discussed and not being too concerned about results, and I can assure you, you will be a better bunker player.

Source: Mel Sole Golf School.

Thanks for reading – Great bunker play made easy! I hope this helps you become a better bunker player.

Related Posts.

Bunker Shots – Short Game Saturday #3.

The Very High Bunker Shot – Trouble Shot Tuesday #91.

Long Bunker Shot – Short Game Saturday #48.

Chipping Technique – Short Game Saturday #14.

Improve your chipping technique.



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