How thinking about one of golf’s worst shots can help in the bunker

don sargent hits bunker shot

The shot you hate the most is what you need when blasting from a bunker.


Want to get better from greenside bunkers? Give yourself a challenge.

Grab an 8-iron and go to work. With the limited loft of this club (compared to a sand wedge), you’ll need to do things that create extra loft, regardless of the club you’re using. This was a lesson I saw demonstrated to perfection by Gary Player — in my opinion, one of the best sand players of all time — in a lesson he gave to three-time major winner Vijay Singh.

The secret: Open the clubface and hold it open all the way through impact — like you’re hitting a slice on purpose. With my students, I ask them to rotate their forearms to the point where, at the top, the clubface points more toward the sky than the ground. The trick, then, is to keep the clubface open all the way through impact. No release necessary.

The real point is that when you get good at hitting greenside bunker shots with an 8-iron, imagine how easy it will be with a sand wedge in your hands.

Don Sargent Jr. is a GOLF Top 100 Teacher and is the director of instruction at Scioto CC in Columbus, Ohio.

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