How an umbrella can help you hit the perfect bunker shot

Bunker shots are not easy. Even for the the best players in the world, sand traps represent a formidable hazard guarding the greens.

For some context, in 2022, the PGA Tour average for up-and-down percentage from the sand was just 51 percent. That’s right, the best players in the world only save par from the sand about half the time.

But don’t let those numbers scare you. Despite bunker shots being among the most difficult in the game, improvement from the sand is not as difficult as you might think. All you need is the proper technique.

Emilia Migliaccio plays a shot out of the bunker during the playoff.
Think of these 3 things to hit a perfect bunker shot every time
By: David Armitage, GOLF Teacher to Watch

For help with that technique, we enlisted the help of Stefanie Shaw of Sebonack Golf Club on Long Island. At GOLF’s recent Top 100 Teacher Retreat, she provided a fun drill that will help you splash the perfect amount of sand from the bunkers every time.

“There’s two really important things with bunkers,” Shaw says. “A, I need to make sure I’m hitting the sand in the correct spot. And B, I need to make sure I’m getting enough sand on the green.”

For help with the first key, the solution is simple. All you need to do is draw a line in the sand and then try to make your divot in front of the line.

“My goal is to hit the line and keep the club traveling through the sand for as long as possible after the line,” Shaw says. “That will help me get a ton of sand to fly up onto the green.”

For the proper visualization of getting enough sand on the green, have someone stand between you and the hole outside the bunker with an umbrella. Your goal should be to pelt the umbrella with sand.

“Make sure there’s someone out there holding the umbrella, and you just want to absolutely cover them in sand,” Shaw says.

If you can start to get consistent in the amount of sand you blast out of the trap, your bunker game will improve and you’ll save par a higher percentage of time.

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Zephyr Melton

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF.com, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.