Josh’s Tips & Tricks: Get out your bucket and spade

Golf | 19 May, 2021


Welcome to another week of Josh’s Tips & Tricks. I hope you have all managed to play some golf and work on some of the things I have educated you on over the past weeks.

This week we’re back in the bunker. The hazards are now back in play and some of you may be feeling a bit rusty on how to get out first time, every time.

Club Selection

The first thing to decide when entering the bunker is which club to use. To make this as easy as possible you want a club with plenty of loft, at least 56* in my opinion, if you’re playing a greenside bunker shot. This is because the ball needs to lift high in the air over the lip of the hazard and potentially stop quickly when it hits the green.

To make it even easier choose a club with plenty of bounce on the sole, this will help cut through the sand and is basically like using a cheat club! A good example of club that is specifically designed for forgiveness and getting out of bunkers would be the Cleveland CBX2. Look at the shape of the sole and see how it would glide through the sand rather than digging into it. This one has 12* of bounce and if you struggle to get out of bunkers, at least 10* of bounce is advisable.

How to get it out

Now lets remind ourselves how to make this shot easy. I’m going to list in bullet points how to set up to this shot because the way we set up is the most important part to playing this shot consistently.

  • Feet just outside a shoulders width (for stability)
  • Feet parallel to target or slightly open/left (for rotation)
  • Ball position towards the left heel (to help hit the sand before the ball
  • Weight leaning into the front foot (for descending angle of attack)
  • Clubface slightly open by a degree or two (for loft)
  • Shaft angle through the middle of the body

Now we have the set up sorted, all we have to do is create a smooth swing and trust hitting through the shot. Try to keep the weight in the front foot all the way through the swing to prevent leaning back. Scooping the ball out will almost always lead to disaster and cause fat and thin strikes. Look just about an inch before the ball and try to create some rhythm in the swing. If you have selected the correct club, got into the correct set up, made a smooth swing and trusted hitting through it an inch before the ball, it should pop up in the air every time.

If you want to cheat and mess about while you practice put two balls together in front of one another. When you hit the first ball it will spin upwards very high off the second ball with a ridiculous amount of spin. It looks super cool and is worth showing your mates.

In summary

People get very tense and nervous in bunkers and with good reason. They’re hazards at the end of the day and are there to punish you. They can however be very easy to navigate with the correct technical understanding and some guidance. Personally I love playing out of bunkers, mainly because I have had so much practice. If you would like some guidance on how to get it out first time, every time you know where I am.