This is an excerpt from my new book “120 Timeless Golf Lessons”. This exercise (from day 3; page 27) should help you to gain some confidence with bunker shots. The book is available on amazon and all major bookdealers. It includes 120 exercises like the following one. To learn more about the book click the link in the main menu.
Some golfers are terrified of the bunker. Are you? You should not be. As with everything in golf, success mostly depends on the proper technique and a little luck. So it is always good to practice your sand play. Being able to get out of the bunker effectively will enable you to get up and down more often and shave strokes off your game. The challenge is simple. Play one full round and hit every bunker. Yes, you read that right. You have to play into each bunker. This will not only challenge your technique, but it is also a good target practice as well. If there are fairway bunkers on your course, you have to hit them as well as all. If there are multiple bunkers next to each other, the rule still applies. You can try to play from one into the other. Or you can get out of the first one before you play into the next. That is your choice.
I suggest that you practice a bit before you head out. The most important aspects are to play with an open clubface because your sand wedge is designed to be played this way and to hit the sand behind the ball instead of the ball itself. The ball should be carried out of the bunker on top of a slice of sand. Think of the ball as a big grain of sand. A good rule of thumb is to swing like you are doing a normal pitch shot. You do not want to swing too hard and steep or you dig into the sand too deep. On the other hand you do not want to hit too soft either and
skull your shot. Because you are aiming for each bunker deliberately you will experience a mind shift. They will not be a terrible obstacle any more, but
more of a challenge you have to overcome. This psychological effect is a great way to get rid of unnecessary fear of sand play.
»» Play a full round of golf (or at least 9 holes).
»» Hit every bunker on each hole you play.