By Jason Blanchard

That dreaded bunker shot. How many times have you felt that pit in your stomach when you hit a shot and realize the ball has just landed in a bunker?

Webster’s definition of a bunker is: “a bin or compartment for storage.”

However, even after you have taken that third swing out of the bunker, it definitely feels like your ball is stuck in permanent storage and can never get out.

There are certain areas of golf that require more practice than others, the short game being one of them. Putting, chipping and bunker play all require a lot of feel, and that can only be gained through repetition. There are a few different ways to play a bunker shot. All try to have the same end result: getting it out of the sand.

The rule of thumb when playing a greenside bunker shot is to imagine your ball is sitting in the middle of a dollar bill and when you swing you want to enter the sand at the beginning of the bill and exit at the end.

Greenside bunker shots should be played with a lofted club of 50 degrees or more. However, when you find yourself in a fairway bunker, you want to try and pick the ball off the sand, making sure you have solid contact with the ball before hitting the sand.

Each week on the PGA tour, you see players knock bunker shots 2 feet from the flag similar to how you or I would hit a chip shot. This skill can only come from practice. Just like a test, if you study, you have a better chance of not failing; if you spend time in the practice bunker, you have a better chance of not ruining your round. Don’t allow that ‘compartment’ in the ground to get the best of you.

For questions or input, please email me at golfguyosprey@gmail.com.