In the golf world, a bunker is a sand trap – and as a PGA professional, to this day I call it a sand trap. However, the official term in the rules of golf is “bunker.”

I know there are many of you out asking, what the heck is a bunker?

In the golf world, a bunker is a sand trap – and as a PGA professional, to this day I call it a sand trap. However, the official term in the rules of golf is “bunker.”

This week I wanted to give you a short lesson on bunker basics – how to get the ball out of the sand trap once you get in there.

I will be the first to admit that for the average weekend player, the sand trap creates tension and fear. But for the PGA Tour player, they prefer the sand compared to other grass lies.

First, get over to your local driving range practice area with a bucket of balls, hop in the practice bunker and drop a golf ball. Draw a line in the sand behind your golf ball about 12 inches long. Take your stance, with ball position slightly forward, keeping about 70 percent of your weight on your left side. This is for right handed golfers, so as you swing the sand wedge, try not to hit the ball but hit the line in the sand, driving the sand wedge through the sand about 10 inches.

I know this sounds weird, not hitting the ball first, but the sand trap shot is the only shot in golf where we do not hit the ball.

A great practice drill in the bunker is to not use a golf ball at all, but instead, just draw a line by itself and practice hitting the line without it.

What this will do is give you the confidence of hitting the line behind the ball to gain consistency.

The next time you watch a PGA Tour player on TV when they get in he sand trap (bunker) watch how easy they get the ball out on the green. They are all using the skills you can learn from the tips I outlined here today.

Ben Alexander is a PGA teaching professional who formerly taught in Pebble Beach and now teaches golf lessons at Lake Shastina Golf Resort. He was awarded the PGA Teacher of the Year twice and was nominated for National PGA Teacher of the Year, To contact Ben call (831) 277-9001.