Bunkers are the reason that many golfers are high handicappers, according to some.
If it’s still taking you more than one swing to get out of the bunker, it’s time to make a change in your game. Although not all high handicappers can hit the pin, it’s important to get out the bunker with one swing.
Here are the best bunker drills to increase your confidence, performance, and hit your target score.
Table of Contents
- 1. Big Backswing Drill
- 2. Line In The Sand Drill
- 3. Variation in Golf Clubs
1. Big Backswing Drill
The big backswing drill is one of my favorite drills to teach high handicappers how to get out of a bunker in one shot. Players who hit their shots into green-side bunkers often fear their ability get the ball out of sand.
Fear can also lead to a lack of confidence that can lead to a swing with some deceleration.
You must have a lot of acceleration and a large enough backswing to hit a great bunker shot. The finish must be complete and high.
How to Do the Big Backswing Exercise
The big backswing drill, which you can do in any greenside bunker, is a simple drill. You will need a few golf clubs and a sand wedge. Place the golf balls in the middle of the bunker.
Make sure your setup is perfect so you can get to your target.
Instead of trying to lift the ball out with a backswing, try a big backswing that is about an inch behind it. Keep going at the same speed as before impact to get to a faster finish.
This may feel awkward the first few times you do it.
Amateurs need to master the mental side of these greenside bunker shots.
This will help you be a better player at the greens.
2. Line In The Sand Drill
The line in sand is the most common bunker drill among high handicap golfers.
This drill teaches players how to set up, weight distribute, and manage a greenside bunker shot.
This is not a drill to be used in fairway bunkers.
You will only need a practice bunker, a wedge, and some golf balls to perform this drill.
How to Do the Line in The Sand Bunker Drill
Find a practice bunker, where you can work alone. Set up a golf ball in the sand. Then draw a line from the golf ball that extends a few yards. This is your practice line.
As if the golf ball were your line, set it up as such. The ball should be slightly in front of your lead leg, with a slightly open face.
It is also a good idea to add weight to the left side. Don’t exaggerate this feeling as it could end up in delofting your wedge. Simply place 60% of your weight on the left leg.
Once you have your grip, posture, and set up, you can start swinging where you don’t hit a ball. Instead, you should make a perpendicular line with your wedge across impact.
If you do this right, your line in the sand will look like a stack of lowercase “t’s.” This shows the club going into the sand before the line and coming out after the line. This will help you set the right mindset for the next bunker that your ball ends up in.
My favorite way to practice this drill is to take three swings with the line and then hit one of the balls. Continue this pattern until you see results!
3. Variation in Golf Clubs
For most golfers who want to escape hazard, the sand wedge is their preferred club. It should not be your only club. Different clubs have different spin and loft characteristics that can help with managing the lie and location of the pin.
The following are the most common clubs that you might consider using outside of the bunker:
- Sand WedgeOverall, best, usually around 56 degrees of loft and good ball flight.
- Lob Wedge perfect for high lofted shots when the pin is too close, and there isn’t much room to work with.
- Gap Wedge or Approach Weed: best for the longer greenside bunker shots where you can’t open the face quite as much.
- Pitching WedgeIf there is no bunker lip and you must cross the green, pitching may be able to do the trick.
- Putter:Yes, some golfers use a putter from a greenside bunker. Make sure your lip is lower and that the sand is compact.
To get a golf ball from a bunker, you have a lot of tools in your bag. Knowing these tools may make this part of the game seem a bit easier.
How to Use Variation in Club Choice Drill
You can practice in a bunker so you can adjust the distance to the pin. You should bring three to four clubs with you into your bunker. It’s always best to vary the shots you hit, so it is more like golf course conditions.
I recommend taking three shots using the lob wedge, three shots using the sandwedge, and three shots using the approach wedge.
Keep going until you feel like you have multiple options for hitting out from a bunker.
If a player feels limited by one shot, it can cause a lack confidence. This can be eliminated by having more than one tool.