5 Common Bunker Mistakes

5 common bunker mistakes

Bunkers prove messy business for most amateur golfers, whether it be the turbulent traumas of the links or the parkland perils; we all seem to squirm at the challenge. However, the mindset is all wrong; bunkers might be the easiest obstacle to overcome on the golf course. Beats water, long grass and out-of-bounds for sure, but there are some reasons why golfers struggle so much.

Here are the 5 most common bunker mistakes we make in the sand where we find it easier to make castles than delivering the ball on a sixpence next to the hole.

1. Too Much Ball

Typically, the aim of the game in golf is to hit the seemingly tiny white egg round a green field. But in the sand trap, we want to use a bit of science to help us out. Sometimes golfers confuse bunker shots with the standard tee shot; they are profusely different.

In the sand, we want to be able to hit the back of the ball on a minuscule scale to help propel it upwards. Too much club-ball contact can cause the result of a fairway bunker shot, packing on the yards with every revolution. This leads to more shots and more disappointment. This can be eradicated by following the next mistake and its solution is embedded within the hard truth.

2. Wrong Technique

Are you attacking the ball like hungry human does to a burger? The ball doesn’t go very far and often trails between your legs while you hold your head in shame. That’s because you’ve got the wrong technique. The ball doesn’t even have a chance to do its magic. 

The most common mistake in terms of technique is the angle of the club face in the start. You should open the club face, creating between 3-7 degrees of loft. This will help guide the ball over the top of the lip so you can progress with your golfing life. The same action will work if you get the sand behind the ball and splash the ball out, it’s almost flawless.

3. Poor Setup

Bunkers require a bit of love and affection, but once they love you they’ll never go against you. This won’t happen if you stand the same way as a regular golf shot. There are some intricacies which aren’t followed leading to many golfing nightmares and failures.

The golfer must stand open to the intended landing area, this allows full body rotation and greater width of the arc. This gives the club the best chance to do its work and to full effect.

 Your grip should also be looser so you can feel the weight of the club in your hands and swing accordingly. Two basic mistakes that are costly in that crucial tournament round.

4. Angle Of Attack

This is a small one but gets me every time. The angle of attack on the ball, in most golf shots, should point downwards by 1 or 2 degrees depending on the length of the shot.

bunker angle of attack

Short bunker shots will require deeper ankles of attack to get more height and ultimately more spin; and vice-versa for the longer shots. Normally the mistake here lies when people take too much sand because they unintentionally become a resident woodchopper.

The angle should match and compliment the shot you want to play. Players struggle to imagine the landing area and this can be helpful to determine what angle of attack you need to create the correct conditions for the play-by-play perfect bunker shot.

5. Fear

Fear is a massive factor in golf, let alone bunker play. Stress in golf creates anxiety which ensues the fear factor too. Sometimes when we stand over the ball, there’s that moment of doubt and disbelief. That creates too much uncertainty and havoc in the game.

Eliminating fear is pretty simple and it’s crazy because we do it all the time without realising. Take a breath and chill. Just before you hit the ball, have a wiggle and a waggle and then you’ll be steady to compress the golf ball. It’s not a race and no-one is rushing you, so why rush?

That’s it, you probably feel a bit better now that I’ve revealed your flaws; don’t worry everyone struggles from them too. Now you know how to tackle this, you can aim for bunkers rather than avoiding them. Yes, they try to provide penalties but they can be rather fruitful, handle them with care.

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