DIY Golf Fixes

If you know how to skim a stone, you can hit good bunker shots



When standing in a greenside bunker, with a high lip between you and the green, a common mistake is to try to help the ball out with some body english. If you straighten up or shift onto your back foot during the swing or try to scoop the ball out with a flick of the wrists, there’s a good chance you’ll either hit too far behind the ball or too close to it and be playing your next shot from anywhere but the green. It should be fairly obvious to you if bunker play is a weakness in your game. But it doesn't have to be if you trust your sand wedge to do the work. Let me show you how.

A great visual for how your body, hands and club should operate in a bunker swing is to visualize skimming a stone across a pond. The way your body rotates and your right arm folds and shallows toward the ground to get the stone to hop along the water is very similar to how your right arm should control a bunker swing. In fact, the next time you’re practicing, you can get some good bunker work in without even stepping in the sand. Just make some sidearm throws downrange with a golf ball and feel how you time the throwing motion with your body rotation. Then employ that action in a bunker.

Watch how my right arm moves as I hit this bunker shot. Also note how the club skims through the sand in much the same way a stone would glide along the top of the water to keep skipping.

Another way to get a feel for this blending action is to make one-arm swings in the bunker, rotating your body toward the hole as your trail arm makes the club skim through the sand (below). When you go back to hitting normal bunker shots, remember this skimming action and keep the clubhead moving well past the time it strikes the sand. When you finish, the clubface should be looking back at you. That's how you know you've kept the face open, which promotes skimming over digging into the sand. Try it. Bunker play is one area where golfers can improve very quickly once they understand and feel the right technique.

/content/dam/images/golfdigest/fullset/2023/1/david-leadbetter-instruction/One-arm bunker shot.png