Some golfers take the term “explosion shot” a bit too literally. When faced with a shot from a bunker, they make a huge swing and blast as much sand as possible in the hopes of getting the ball out and onto the green.
If you aspire to do more than just escape, however, there’s a better way to go about it.
The main thing separating average bunker players from good ones is the ability to impart backspin. Where average golfers take so much sand that their shots look like knuckleballs, better players exhume only a sliver of sand, causing the ball to check up and stop on a dime.
Here’s some good news: You don’t have to hit the sand close to the ball to make it spin. You simply need to adopt a shallower swing path. Follow these steps to crisper bunker shots that hop and stop:
- Stand square to the target line, or just slightly open.
- Address the ball in your usual manner, then move about an inch farther away from the ball. Be sure to maintain plenty of knee flex, and don’t bend over to reach the ball.
- Make your normal swing, focusing on hitting the sand about 2” behind the ball.
Standing square instead of wide open to the target line promotes a more inside-to-out swing, while the extra space between you and the ball further flattens your swing path.
Even with the same entry point as before, you’ll take a shallower divot, with less sand between clubface and ball. Voila! More spin, more control, better bunker shots.