Jackie Burke's Basics of Solid Sand Bunker Play

sand-bunker-playSand bunker shots can be one of the most daunting shots in golf.  With drastic changes required to the setup, swing, and impact positions, the shot out of a sand trap requires a lot of conditions to be met to work correctly.

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Lucky for you, Hall of Famer Jackie Burke, Jr. and Steve Elkington have the solution.  Today in Secret Instruction, they will take you through the necessary adjustments you will need to make, and simple ways to tame the dreaded sand bunker shot.

Find out more in the video below:

Mr. Burke advises you to do the following in the bunker:

  • You should address the shot with the clubface wide open.  Do this by simply rotating the open so that the face is pointed straight in the air.  You do not alter your grip, you simply open the club up, and take your normal grip on the now-opened clubface
  • Aim your feet more to the left to offset how far the clubface has been opened.
  • The shot should be hit with a cut swing, so the club should be lifted up outside the normal plane to allow for a leftward swing that will keep the clubface more open
  • The goal is not to hit the ball- the goal is to hit behind the ball, with increased clubface speed.  
  • For sand shots to work correctly, you must hit down firmly on the sand.  The sand, in turn will lift the ball out of the bunker

While this may sound complicated, it is pretty straightforward.  You are simply opening the face wide, and then hitting firmly down on the sand 2 inches behind the ball to lift the sand- and the ball- out of the trap.  The closer you hit to the ball, the more the shot will spin.  There is no need to fear sand bunker shots.  With these simple changes, you will find your sand bunker play increasing in no time!


As the lowest elevation course on the planet Furnace Creek Golf Course boasts challenges for every level of player. Join Steve Elkington take on the salty oasis of Death Valley on this Secret Golf Episode!


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