7 Tips for Getting Out of the Sand Trap
If your strategy for sand traps is to completely avoid them, then you may want to reevaluate your approach! Even the professionals can't avoid them. Getting out of the sand trap can be one of the hardest shots to master in golf. From beginners to the professional, many golfers have a difficult time with bunker shots. Getting the right loft, spin, and impact on the ball can be tricky and can negatively impact your score. Instead of trying to avoid the shot altogether, prepare yourself instead. If you're looking to improve your sand trap game, keep reading for 7 tips for hitting a successful bunker shot. Everything from your club choice to your set-up and attitude will all have an impact on your success. With these tips, you will be able to approach your next sand shot with confidence and ease and help improve your score as well.
1. Choose the Right Club
Choosing the right club will be your first decision when approaching your shot. Base your choice on where you are positioned in relation to the green. If you have a small amount of green to work with between you and the hole, use a high loft wedge. If you have more green to work with, choose a lower loft wedge. The solution to hitting out of a bunker on the fairway is to hit more club. You will hit this similar to a greenside shot, but the using more club with allow you to get more distance.
2. Take the Right Set Up
Set up by grounding your feet into the sand. This will not only help you get a feel for what the sand is like but also give you a solid base. Next, it's important to play the ball off of your front foot. Setting up this way will help increase the trajectory of the ball. There may be situations when hitting a lower trajectory shot may be necessary, but playing it forward is a good rule of thumb. With the ball in the right position, it's time to open your stance and your club face. You can do this by aiming slightly to the left and opening your club face by 2-3 degrees. Lastly, distribute your weight so that 80% of your weight is on your front foot and 20% is on your back foot. The distribution of weight is what helps create a nice splash in the sand and give your ball backspin as you hit it. You want to avoid shifting your weight back and forth like you would in a normal swing.
3. The Right Grip
The right grip is another important aspect to a good bunker shot. Approach your shot with soft arms and a weak grip. A weak grip doesn't mean you hold the club with less pressure, but it actually refers to the release of the hinge in your wrists. Using a weak grip allows an earlier release of the wrist hinge. This causes the ball to go higher and to stop faster on the green.
4. Make the Right Swing
Now that you've got your set up down, it's time to focus on your swing. You want to have an outside-in swing pattern, using a slight wrist bend at the top of your swing. How far back you bring the club will depend totally on the distance you are wanting to hit the ball. This swing pattern helps with the loft of the ball and allows your shot to be high and soft.
5. Follow Through
Because you're not shifting your weight back and forth as you would in a normal shot, you want to pay extra attention to your follow through. With sand shots, you will have to stay down longer and make a nice full follow through. If you decelerate or stop your swing as soon as you hit the ball, your ball won't go anywhere. You usually want to try to hit slightly behind the ball (or a little fat), which means you will be pulling some sand with your shot. Having a strong follow-through will ensure your shot will have enough power to drive your ball out of the bunker.
6. Have the Right Mindset
Just like many other famous golfers have stated, your mental game is your strongest tool in golf. If you approach your shot with doubts and frustration, that will negatively impact your game. Approach your shots with confidence. Envision where you want the ball to go, and don't let negative thoughts run through your mind before you are about to hit. There will always be a few bad shots, but allow yourself to move on from them and approach each shot with a clear mind.
7. Practice, Practice, Practice!
Consistent practice is what will help you the most. Like mentioned earlier, instead of trying to avoid bunkers all together, properly prepare yourself instead. Hitting into the sand is inevitable, and practicing on a regular basis will increase your confidence as you approach these difficult shots. While practicing, work on your mindset for each shot as well. Being able to prepare both mentally and physically will help you later on when the pressure is on.
Getting Out of the Sand Trap
While one of the trickiest shots in golf, don't let hitting out of the sand trap be a stressful experience. With the right set-up and enough practice, you will be able to approach your shots with confidence and ease.