Greenside Bunker Play – Direction Calibration Drill

bunker direction calibration

bunker direction calibration


This is an important drill to help you determine your alignment for your greenside bunker shots. As you know, we normally set up to bunker shots with an open club face in order to best utilize the bounce on our sand wedge. The effect of this setup position are shots that clearly launch to the right of where we are swinging. This process will help you understand just how much to the left you will need to aim in order to account for this fact, allowing your shots to end up on line with your target.

You’ll need to be in a bunker with some golf balls and your sand wedge. Establish a precise target…a flagstick on the green works great. Either draw lines in the sand or place a club or dowel to ensure that you are aligned perfectly square to your target line. Your body lines should be perfectly parallel to the target line.

As per your standard bunker set up, rotate the club in your hands open to the right so that the grooves of the club face point directly at your left toe. This is your benchmark bunker set up position. We know that if we are aligned squarely with an open club face, that the shot should miss the target to the right. This distance to the right, or launch angle is exactly what we are hoping to measure and note.

Knowing you’ll miss your target, make your normal bunker swing, swinging down the target line, impacting the sand a couple inches behind the ball and following through. The shot should come out to the right of your target. Do this in the exact same way several times or until you’ve achieved some consistent results. Make note as to how far to the right of your target line the shots tend to launch and end up.

When you’re on the golf course, this is precisely how far to the left you’ll need to set up and swing in order to compensate for this effect. Naturally, if you change your club face angle or other parts of the set up, these results will differ slightly, but at least you have a strong benchmark to go with.