How to get the perfect ‘splash’ out of the bunker every time

tiger woods hits bunker shot during final round of the 2022 masters at augusta national

Controlling the low point in your swing is key if you want to get the perfect "splash" out of the greenside bunker.

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“Enter the sand behind the ball.” 

While not terrible advice, most recreational players take it too literally and focus their attention on — or even stare at — only an area behind the ball and forget that the area underneath and past the ball is just as important. The result? The club bottoms out too early, resulting in either a fat shot or, worse yet, a bladed one the sails the green. 

The correct way to develop consistency and distance control from a greenside bunker is to carve out a “splash” of sand that begins and exits in equal amounts on both sides of the ball. To get a feel for it, try my “Superman X-ray vision” shot. 

X-ray vision shot

Tee a ball in the sand until it sits nicely on top of the bunker’s surface. Set up like normal, then hit the shot with your attention focused on cutting the tee in half. The secret: Look through the ball to the tee underneath as you swing.

hand tees up ball in the sand
Use this drill to dial in your bunker play. Stephen Denton

By doing so, you’ll naturally enter the sand behind the ball, go under it and exit just after it, resulting in a predictable, consistent splash. The length of this splash will vary depending on swing speed, the bounce on your wedge, attack angle and sand texture. Regardless, the important part is the symmetry of the entry and exit. 

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a super save! 

Jeff Warne is a GOLF Top 100 Teacher and is the director of golf at The Bridge in Bridgehampton, N.Y.

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