7 Top Sand Bunker Drills
If you are afraid of greenside sand shots, I can understand why. They’re difficult to escape when you haven’t quite mastered the swing technique for sand bunkers on a golf course.
Bad strokes can range from just moving the ball forward an inch in the sand to thinning the ball to the point where you have to yell at other players on the green to watch out.
Bunkers appear complex because we are not often taught the proper technique. Beginner bunker shots are tricky, but with a little training and the technique I’ll show you, you’ll be out of that in no time.
In fact, if you’re like me, you’ll enjoy bragging about your sandpit skills to your friends.
The following are some of the most common reasons for bad or inconsistent bunker shots:
- Pressure in arms and hands,
- Using the wrong sand from the club,
- Bounce and sole width is not wide enough
- Not following through to complete the swing
Once you overcome the mental blocks and learn the fundamentals of greenside bunkers, you can come become a great sand player. Golf bunker drills are the easiest approach, in my opinion, to enhance your bunker play and gain confidence in the sand.
The 7 top sand bunker drills listed below will allow you to make the most of your bunker training sessions.
Golf Drills to Practice Escaping Sand Bunkers
- Circle your Foot Drill
The Circle your Foot Drill will teach you where to enter the sand and how much sand to take greenside bunkers to assure you make the appropriate impact. Make a circle the size of your foot in the sand to learn how to take the correct hole or “splash” in the sand.
Just use the butt end of your club and outline your foot in the sand. The circle you will form will be just the right size for you to practice making the ideal exit and entry point.
Position your ball in the center of the circle or island. Experiment with entering the circle from the back, swinging through the ball, and exiting from the front.
Make sure you’re accelerating through the ball and making a great shallow splash. Thinking about moving the entire circle will support you swinging through the shot and avoiding you from quitting.
This drill will teach you how much sand to use and how big a splash to produce in greenside bunkers so you can get up and out and onto the green.
Practice this drill until you’re confident with your splash, your ability to go through the sand appropriately, and your ability to get the ball out quickly.
- Line Drill
The Greenside Bunker Line Drill is meant to assist you to swing through the ball with a shallow splash rather than digging too deep and leaving the ball in the bunker.
Draw a line in the bunker between your feet for around 6 feet perpendicular to your goal line with the butt end of your grip. Your golf ball will be shown by this line.
Work your way down from the top of the line. Make a shallow splash on the top of the sand with your club as you enter at the front of the line and exit at the end. Your club’s back or a bounce should feel like it’s striking the sand and then bouncing back out.
Make sure your clubface is adequately open to take advantage of the club’s back bounce. Once you’re heading too steeply into the sand, use the Line Drill to allow you to make a beautiful, shallow path without digging in much more.
Golf Practice Plans to Follow
- All Access – Every Training Program & Worksheet Library Access
- How to Break 90, 80, 70 Training Plans
- Golf Fitness Training Program
- Two-line drill
The Two Line Drill will help you learn to enter the sand at the same spot each time, ensuring that your swing bottoms out at the same spot. This will assist you in getting the right amount of sand and getting the correct splash.
To perform this drill, draw two lines in the sand with the butt end of your club that is parallel to your mark and about 8 inches apart.
Perform good swings in the sand, aiming for a good shallow splash where your club enters and exits the sand at the first and second lines. This will help you understand to make contact with the sand at the same position in your swing arc.
- Foot Depth Drill
The Foot Depth Drill teaches you how much you should dig your feet into the sand in a bunker. The depth to which you dig your feet can influence how much sand you take, how high or low the ball comes out, and the type of twist it has.
Simply dig your foot in both directions. Begin by hitting a lot of shots with your feet firmly embedded in the sand.
Take note of how heavy it feels, as well as the height, spin, roll, and overall impact. If you need the ball to hit and release on the green, this is a perfect option.
Next, dig in less and pay attention to the outcome. High strokes that land softer on the greens and checkup even faster.
It’s worth noting that if you want to dig less, you’ll need to open up your clubface to make use of the bounce on the rear of the clubhead.
The depth at which you dig your feet into the sand can help you calculate the amount of sand you’ll need, the type of splash you’ll have, how low or high the ball will fly out, and how much spin will be on the ball if you practice the Foot Depth Drill.
When you dig deeper, you will hit down, taking more sand. The ball will come out lower, hotter, and with less spin than usual. You’ll make less of a splash if you dig in less. The ball will be higher in the air and have greater spin.
- 2×4 Bunker Drill
The 2×4 Bunker Drill will help you become more comfortable hitting out of the sand with your club’s rear edge and an open clubface, rather than the leading edge burrowing into the sand.
The 2×4 Bunker Drill will help you get used to hitting out of the sand with the back edge of your club (the bounce) and an open clubface rather than the leading edge burrowing into the sand.
When you set your club in the middle, practice with a 2×4 long enough that you don’t hit the back edge. You can also paint the 2×4 to make it easier to see where your club is hitting with the board. Down your target line, bury the 2×4 in the sand.
When trying to hit a bunker shot, you’ll hit the top of the 2×4 the same way you’d strike the sand. When you strike the 2×4, you will be able to see the marks on the board as well as the paint (if applied) on the bottom of your clubface where you are contacting the sand.
When you strike with the club’s leading edge, it digs into the board and leaves a mark on the leading edge of your clubface (if painted).
Experiment with opening your clubface and hitting with the club’s rear edge or bounce. Take note of how it glides and leaves a mark on the back edge of your clubface.
- One Foot Drill For Fairway Bunkers
The One Foot Drill for Fairway Bunkers keeps you going through the ball and is an excellent drill if you are leaning back or taking too much sand on your fairway bunker shots.
For this drill, stand on your front foot, with your back foot on tiptoe. Try hitting while remaining balanced on your front foot. This will keep you from storing and putting your club behind the ball in the sand.
Practice the One Foot Drill to have your front leg stable and properly picking the ball off the sand.
- Cup of Sand Drill
The Cup of Sand Drill will show you that hitting a bunker shot is no different than playing a normal pitch or chip and that hitting out of a greenside bunker can be simple.
Take a cup of sand and place it on the fairway as (a mound). Make a sand pile that is 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick. Place your ball above it. Put in a place like you’re going to hit a standard 50-yard pitch shot.
You’ll be striking the ball through the sand. Perform the Cup of Sand Drill to persuade yourself that hitting out of the sand isn’t all that unusual from hitting a pitch shot except you’re hitting the sand first.
Keep in mind that shots out of the sand will travel around half the distance of a regular pitch shot.
- Greenside Bunker Tee Drill
The Greenside Bunker Tee Drill will show you how to approach a greenside bunker shot at the appropriate angle to generate a smooth shallow splash that will bring you out of the bunker and onto the green.
Put a tee in the sand so that only the top of the tee is visible above the sand’s top layer. Concentrate on clipping the top of the tee enough to lift it from the sand.
This will keep you from digging too far or quitting the shoot. The tee should pop out just enough to settle a few inches from where it started.