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Bunker mentality

Knowing the type of sand and correct bounce to have is key for good shots

Bunker mentality

Whether you're in soft or hard sand will be a determining factor in what type of bounce to use while playing green-side bunker shots.
Joey Cobbs, Southland Golf

Not all golfers are created equal, and neither are bunkers. Depending on the type and amount of sand and weather conditions, the way you play bunker shots should vary considerably, which is where the bounce on your sand wedge comes into play.

Bounce is the angle between the leading and trailing edge of your club. The more the leading edge is above the trailing edge the higher the bounce and the less the club will dig. Therefore, when in bunkers with varying amounts of sand and consistency you must vary the bounce to allow for proper contact.

Here are a couple scenarios to help you out:


Here, it’s easy to take too much sand and leave the ball in the bunker, so bounce is your friend. You need to make a relatively large swing without the fear of digging deep into the sand. To help, put the ball forward in your stance; open the clubface to the target; place your hands even or slightly back of the ball; complete the swing with the club pointing at the sky and the face to the right of the shaft.


This type of sand doesn’t allow for the club to dig very much. As a result, it’s easy for the club to bounce off the sand at impact, hit the middle of the ball and send it to unknown territory. To minimize that, put the ball in the middle of your stance; square the clubface; put your hands even or slightly forward of the ball; use a short and low follow-through.

Identifying the sand you’re playing in and matching the bounce you expose to it is the secret to a great bunker game on any golf course. Give it a try.

Devan Bonebrake is owner of the Southern California Golf Academy at Carlsbad Golf Center and one of Golf Digest’s Top Young Teachers in America. He can be reached at (503) 706-7187 or southerncalgolfacademy.com.

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