Build your base for better bunker shots.

It’s no secret that many amateurs are fearful of bunker shots, but we can remove much of that angst simply by setting up correctly.

There are two things that I like to focus on for more consistent bunker play. The first is to aim slightly left of the target (for right-handed golfers). If you imagine lining up directly at the flag, adjust your stance slightly to the left with both your feet and your shoulders so that your aim point is now a metre or so left of the flag.

The next is to make sure there is weight on your lead foot (the left foot for a right-hander). I tell students to press down on their knee with their left hand and to keep the weight there.

When golfers get in trouble playing bunker shots, the tendency is to have weight centred or even towards the right foot; you need to feel weight on the left side. This enables you to hinge the club earlier – making the club feel lighter earlier in the backswing – and create the descending blow we are striving for.

How we set up to the ball is also crucial. Many coaches talk of a wide stance but too much width can cause problems of its own. Get down and build a strong base with your feet but don’t get so wide that you go beyond your balance point.

Do those things and you will see the ball pop out softly and make those sand saves far less stressful.

If you have any questions or are interested in undertaking some online lessons, e-mail Jason
at [email protected]

Quick Tip: Lie Angles

Rarely do we get the ‘perfect’ lie in a bunker, but the principles of how we play the shot remain the same. If the ball is partly buried, play the ball slightly back in your stance, which enables you to dig the ball out. And remember to release that clubhead to a full finish.

Photo by Getty images: Stacy Revere