Golf Bunker Drills to Practice For 1 Hour

Mastering the art of bunker play is a crucial component of a well-rounded golf game.

Whether it’s escaping a greenside trap with a single stroke or navigating the challenging lie of a fairway bunker, proficiency in the sand can significantly reduce your scores and enhance your confidence on the course.

This one-hour practice session is designed to develop your bunker shot technique, control, and versatility. Through a series of focused drills, you’ll learn to handle various bunker scenarios, improving your ability to get up and down more consistently.

Given the physical exertion required for bunker shots, aim for a balanced pace to maintain energy throughout the session, targeting around 40-50 shots in total, with adjustments based on your fatigue level and the intensity of each drill.

Warm-Up (10 minutes)

  • Drill 1: Basic Bunker Technique (10 minutes)
    • Activity: Begin with basic greenside bunker shots focusing on technique—open stance, open clubface, and aiming to hit the sand 1-2 inches behind the ball.
    • Goal: Hit 10-15 shots, concentrating on consistent sand contact and getting the ball out of the bunker.

Skill Development (30 minutes)

  • Drill 2: Distance Control (10 minutes)
    • Setup: Place targets at varying distances from the bunker edge—near, middle, and far edges of the green.
    • Activity: Alternate shots among the three targets, focusing on controlling the distance with the same swing but varying the club’s speed and point of entry into the sand.
    • Goal: Complete 3 sets of shots to each target (9 shots total), working on landing the ball near each target.
  • Drill 3: Shot Type Variation (10 minutes)
    • Activity: Practice different types of bunker shots—standard greenside, plugged lie (buried), and fairway bunker shots (if applicable).
    • Goal: Hit 5-7 shots of each type, focusing on adjusting your technique for each situation (15-21 shots total).
  • Drill 4: Challenging Lies (10 minutes)
    • Setup: Create challenging lies within the bunker, such as uphill, downhill, and sidehill lies.
    • Activity: Hit shots from each type of lie, focusing on adapting your stance and swing to the slope.
    • Goal: Hit 3-5 shots from each lie type (9-15 shots total), aiming to get comfortable with various bunker scenarios.

Pressure Practice (10 minutes)

  • Drill 5: Up-and-Down Game (10 minutes)
    • Setup: Simulate a game-like situation where you must get up and down from the bunker.
    • Activity: After each bunker shot, proceed to putt out the ball. Count your strokes, aiming to complete the hole in two strokes (one bunker shot, one putt).
    • Goal: Complete 5 holes, focusing on both the quality of the bunker shot and the subsequent putt. This drill enhances your pressure handling and simulates match conditions.

Cool Down and Reflection (10 minutes)

  • Drill 6: Repeatable Technique Focus (5 minutes)
    • Activity: Choose a comfortable bunker shot and focus on repeating your technique with smooth, controlled swings.
    • Goal: Hit 10 consistent shots, emphasizing fluid motion and clean sand contact.
  • Reflection (5 minutes)
    • Spend the remaining time reflecting on the session. Identify which shots or techniques felt strong and which need more work. Consider writing down key takeaways or areas for improvement to focus on in future practice sessions.

This bunker practice session offers a comprehensive approach to mastering sand play, combining technical work with scenario-based practice.

Adjust the difficulty of each drill based on your skill level, and always pay attention to how your body responds to the physical demands of bunker shots. Effective practice in the sand can significantly lower your scores and build confidence on the course.

Resource: How to Score in the 70’s Golf Training Plan


Concluding a comprehensive bunker practice session with reflection is as important as the drills themselves. This focused approach not only hones your technical skills but also builds mental resilience and adaptability in challenging situations.

By regularly incorporating sessions like this into your practice routine, you’ll find yourself approaching bunker shots with greater confidence and skill, turning potential scorecard disasters into opportunities for par saves or even birdies.

Remember, the key to success in the bunker, as with all aspects of golf, lies in consistent practice, patience, and a positive mindset.


Q: How often should I practice bunker shots?

Incorporating bunker practice into your routine at least once a week is beneficial, especially if sand play is a weaker aspect of your game. Regular practice helps maintain muscle memory and confidence.

Q: What type of sand wedge is best for bunker shots?

A sand wedge with a wide sole and high bounce (typically between 10° and 14°) is ideal for most bunker shots, as it helps prevent the club from digging too deeply into the sand.

Q: Can I practice bunker shots without a sand trap?

While practicing in actual sand is ideal, you can simulate bunker shots on grass by focusing on the same swing technique. However, actual sand practice is crucial for developing a feel for how the club interacts with the sand.

Q: How do I adjust for different types of sand?

In softer sand, use a more open clubface and ensure a full follow-through. In firmer sand, you might not need to open the clubface as much and can focus on a slightly firmer swing to ensure the ball gets out.

Q: What’s the most common mistake in bunker play and how can I avoid it?

A common mistake is decelerating the club before impact, often due to fear of hitting the ball too far. Practice maintaining a consistent swing speed and follow-through, focusing on hitting the sand at a consistent spot behind the ball.

By addressing these frequently asked questions and sticking to a structured practice regimen, you can steadily improve your bunker play, making sand traps less intimidating and more of an opportunity to showcase your skill.

Golf Practice Plans to Follow

Thanks for reading today’s article!

Nick Foy – Golf Instructor

nick foy golf academy
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