For golf players of all experience levels, the sand trap is one of the most dreaded hazards. Finding yourself stuck in one is never fun, but for beginners, it can be very difficult to avoid them. Once you're in one, the idea of hitting out of the sand can be daunting. However, with practice, it does become easier. The first step is learning how to hit a bunker shot, and that's what we'll cover here.
How to Hit Out of the Sand
To get out of the bunker, follow these steps.
1. Take a Deep Breath
For beginners, seeing the ball end up in the sand can cause a stress response. You may tense up, and your heart rate may increase. When you're feeling this way, it can be very difficult to remember the technique for making a golf bunker shot properly. So before you even approach the bunker, take some deep breaths. Remind yourself that ending up in a sand trap in golf is part of the game, and it even happens to the pros. Putting the situation in perspective will help you stay in the right headspace for playing your best.
2. Use the Right Club
Escaping from the bunker becomes easier when you have the right club in your hand. The ultimate goal of getting out of a sand trap is to get your ball as far from the bunker as possible, and the club that you choose will play a role in determining if that's possible.
To decide which club to use, determine the path that the ball needs to take. Do you have a lot of room or is the ball close to the edge of the sand? If the latter is the case, hitting out of the sand will be more difficult, as your shot needs to be high and long.
Wedges should be your go-to club for any golf bunker shot. If the ball is on top of the sand and has an easy path, a sand wedge may be the best option. Pitching and lob wedges are both useful when the ball is near the edge. If you're still a great distance from the hole, the pitching wedge is usually the better option among the two.
3. Grip the Club Properly
Holding the club with a weak grip can give you a higher trajectory and allow the ball to stop more quickly once it reaches the green. However, this doesn't mean that you should use less pressure. The term weak grip refers to when your left hand sits under the golf grip and your right hand is on top if you're right-handed or your right hand sits under the golf grip and your left hand is on top if you're a leftie. This position releases the wrist hinge more quickly. Also, keep your arms soft and loose while making your swing.
4. Swing for the Ball
The next step is to take your swing just as you would with any other shot in the game. The difference with the golf bunker shot is that your ball may have sunken slightly, and this could make it harder to hit.
5. Follow Through on Your Swing
As with any other shot in golf, the backswing is important for getting out of the sand. Maintain the proper form and complete your swing in its entirety to get the ball out and get back into the game.
6. Shake It Off
Once you're out of the sand, leave it behind mentally. Focus on what comes next in the game rather than dwelling on the hazard. You can come back from a bunker shot, but not if you become distracted by reliving the moment.
7. Continue to Practice
After your round has come to an end, take the time to contemplate how you ended up in the bunker. Do you know what led to the error? What can you do to avoid it in the future? Keep these discoveries in mind and continue to practice. If you're frequently ending up in the sand, consider taking a couple of golf lessons. Improving your form with the help of a pro could help you avoid the bunker in the future and make you better prepared for escaping the sand when you have to. Also, invest in professionally fitted clubs if you haven't already. They can improve every aspect of your game, including your ability to steer clear of the sand.
Can You Ground Your Club in a Bunker?
One important thing to remember when learning how to hit out of sand is that you can't ground your club in a bunker. If you make contact with the ball or disturb the sand in any way, you receive a penalty. This is true both with match play and stroke play rules. The complete rules for hitting out of the sand are found in Rules 12.2a and 12.2b of the USGA rules. They also prohibit you from touching the sand with a hand, club or rake to test the condition of the sand or touching the sand during practice swings or your backswing.
Take Every Golf Bunker Shot in Style
By staying calm and focused, using the right club, maintaining a weak grip and utilizing proper form for your swing, you can escape the sand more easily. Ultimately, you hope to avoid ending up there, but remember that bunker shots happen to the best of us and they're part of the game. Plus, every shot from the sand is a chance to get better and build skills. And above all, remember that golf is meant to be fun, something we hope to capture in our line of stylish, yet functional golf apparel and accessories. Shop our new arrivals now and you can look your best in the sand and out of it.