Learn these three bunker shots and you'll never have any difficulty getting out the sand again.
1. Standard splash shot
Turn your left foot 45 degrees towards the target. This helps you to clear the left hip so that nothing inhibits you when you turn. Your left knee should match that to allow you to work the whole leg in a straight line and keep the pressure there.
You want compression in the long game but not with this type of shot. You don’t want shaft lean here. You want a neutral feeling, with the club set-up against the zip and, when you come back, you want to return the club to that point.
It’s all about feel. Obviously, you want your swing to be on plane as you would with anything, especially with the short game. There is nothing particularly special about a standard splash. As long as you do the basics above and commit, you’ll be fine. You might need a little more speed when compared to other shots as there’s a bit of friction involved.
Think about it: if you’ve got a bare lie, you need much less power to get the same distance if you were playing from a bunker. In bunkers, you need to hit it that little bit harder. If the ball is sitting down, you instinctively know you’ll need to swing a bit harder. That’s something you should pick up through experience.
2. High splash shot
Open the clubface a little more for more loft. If you grip down, you are shortening the arc so, for the ball to go the same distance, you need to add some speed. By doing that, you’re adding spin.
So, by hitting a shorter shot harder and higher, it should stop quicker. This is a great shot to have in the bag if you need to get good control.
By lowering the butt of the club you’re now making the club work more in that ‘V’ shape we’ve talked about before. You should feel more wrist hinge and you can add speed and power. You need speed but you don’t need distance.
With this shot, you need to sit down into the shot. This helps you lower the butt of the club to get that lower ‘V’ swing and hinge more. Practice this as much as you can. With this type of shot, I would always use the most lofted club in the bag, something like a 58° or a 60° wedge.
3 Long bunker shot
The main difference with hitting a longer bunker shot is the change of club you’re going to use. You’ll only know what club to hit when you compare the shot to a standard lie off the fairway.
If I’m on the fairway and I hit my 8-iron 150 yards and I need to hit it ten yards further, I would move towards hitting a 7-iron. You wouldn’t try and better the 8, so you should use the same principle in bunker play. After that, simply address the ball with the face a little less open and stand a little bit taller and closer in relation to the ball.
If I can keep most of the rules - or basics - on how to get out of bunkers fairly similar and only just change the club, then that’s going to make it easier for me. Now I can hit it a little further, plus the ball will come out a little bit lower.
For this shot, I just stand a little bit taller and a little bit closer, and I open the face just a little bit less, that’s going to produce the distance I need.