Spending a day at the beach can be filled with sand, surf and fun, but when you’re trapped on the beach on the golf course, it’s anything but a good time. Sand bunkers are one of the most intimidating hazards on the course for many players, but they don’t have to be if you use these golf tips for beginners for getting back onto the green.
If you really want to know how to hit a golf ball further when you’re in the sand, you’ve got to take a hard look at your equipment. You certainly can use just about any club you’d like in the bunker, but your sand wedge is specially designed to glide across the sand and push your ball along with it.
Set up a sand shot by turning your body about 10 degrees open in relation to the ball, with one foot behind and one ahead of it, with the ball even with your left heel. Distribute your weight evenly between your feet.
When you do take your shot, the goal is to take as little sand as you can from the bunker while avoiding contact with the ball. Some golf experts recommend aiming for a point about two inches behind your ball when you’re playing in a flatter part of the bunker to create the optimal amount of explosive energy.
Release your wrist early in your downswing and keep the club handle up as much as possible so that the club head can skip across the top of the sand. Many players who struggle with bunkers do so because they inadvertently push the handle of the club toward their target, causing them to hit the sand too early, burying their clubhead.
Open your clubface based on the type of sand you’re playing in. If you find yourself in soft sand, a very open face can help to prevent digging in, but firm sand calls for a more square face. Both conditions play better with a relaxed arm position and a complete follow-through.
Improving your golf swing from the bunker won’t happen overnight, but practicing in the sand will make a huge difference the next time it really matters. You don’t even need a golf ball to practice those bunker swings — after all, the goal is to push around a tiny bit of sand without touching your ball. Swing away until you feel like you’ve got the motion down pat.
Sometimes, struggles in the bunker aren’t due to bad form as much as having the wrong equipment. Lots of beginning golfers try to play bunkers with their pitching wedge and end up frustrated — if that sounds like you, check out our selection of gently used golf wedges at 3balls.com. We’ve got a huge selection of wedges that will get you back on the green in no time.
Photo credit: Neil Rickards / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)