The Secret to Perfecting the Bunker Shot

The biggest secret in conquering the bunker shot would be the ability to control consistently where your club head enters the sand. Let's refer to the bottom of this entry point of where the club enters the sand as low point.

low point golf swin

Below is a video of Zach Johnson demonstrating how important low point is. The shot he is faced with is one that requires the ball to get up in the air fast and land softly. It is a shot that demands precision because if he doesn't time it correctly, his result will be a shot that either stays in the bunker or skulled across the green.

In order to develop consistency with your bunker shots like Zach Johnson you will need to find a way to control your low point.

Below are some ways to help you control low point:

  • Go to a bunker using your sand wedge or lob wedge and take a divot out of the sand
  • Next try to take another divot the same length
  • As you do this pay attention to where the club is entering into the sand and the depth of sand that you blast out
  • A great visual to use when you take these divots is to picture them to be a dollar length long
  • Be sure as you take divot after divot that they are looking identical, if not you will need to keep practicing
bunker divot
bunker shot dolla

Once you start developing consistency with your low point it is now time to place a ball in the sand.

  • If you liked using the dollar bill visual then keep visualizing the dollar bill underneath the ball as you blast it out of the sand
  • To see if you are blasting the ball out correctly, the trajectory of the shot should be normal with a forward spin
  • If you are coming up short then your low point is too steep with the entry point being too far behind the ball
  • If the ball is flying too far then most likely your low point is too shallow meaning little sand is being taken out
  • A good visual to use to figure the amount of sand to blast out would be the 2/3rd rule, which means if your landing spot is 15 yards away you would blast the sand 2/3 of the distance to about 10 yards

Below you will find Sergio Garcia demonstrating how to blast the sand 2/3 of the distance.

bunker shot

If you are still having trouble hitting balls out of the bunker, an excellent bunker tip David Orr uses is wedging sand together to form a mound no longer than a dollar bill length.

The mound's height should be no higher than 2-3 inches. Then place golf balls on top of this mound and work on blasting out the sand underneath the ball.This bunker tip will help you to control the entry point and see the visual of the ball being blasted out with the sand.

Another sand shot tip to keep in mind is to watch your hand speed. Your hand speed should be a medium speed which will help in controlling low point and your distance.You may need a high hand speed only when the distance of the shot is long or the ball is buried.

For help with determining what wedge you should use in the bunker visit Wedge Bounce

Practicing the bunker shot can be frustrating but with these golf bunker tips you should start seeing a few more "sandie's" throughout your rounds.

Return From Bunker Shot to Bo Knows Golf Tips

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Bo, I wanted to thank you for your help so far with my golf game. I wanted to let you know that I shot a 75 the other day in a tournament round, my best round ever. I had 32 total putts and NO 3 putts. I definitely couldn't have done that before. Thanks again and I'll be back in touch soon to get some more lessons lined up.


Bo I just wanted to tell you about another tournament I played in. I went out and played and shot a 75 which is one of my best rounds this year so I think everything is coming together. I've been making alot of birdies lately and just wanted to thank you for everything!

Adam Mikhalko

Hey Bo when I got back from camp I played really well I’m putting great and I’m hitting the ball well. Thank you for everything at camp.


Hey Bo!!! I have been playing my best in golf, mostly because of you!!! two days ago I shot an 80 in my club tourney and came in 3rd place.

Brandtley Taylor

I played in a tournament when I got back from camp and shot 76 and came in fourth. I feel much more confident on the course with my mental thoughts. I used the tips you wrote down on that sheet and they have helped me alot.

Freddy Weber