Mastering the Greenside Bunker Shot
To me, the greenside bunker shot is one of the easiest shots in golf. If I know my ball is going to miss the green I’m practically begging for it to find a bunker. However, when I play with higher handicap players, the greenside bunker is viewed as a monster that should be avoided at all costs. It doesn’t have to be this way. Having a little knowledge and the correct setup will have you mastering this shot in no time.
First off…club choice. Usually I’ll see someone use the same club for every bunker shot around the green. You don’t want to fall into this habit. If the pin is close I like using a lob wedge, however if the pin is more towards the middle of the green I’ll use a sand wedge. For further bunker shots I’ll use a gap wedge or event a pitching wedge. You have 14 clubs in the bag for a reason, make sure you take advantage of them.
Next is setup. You should never approach a greenside bunker shot like a chip shot. Your stance should be wide and open with more knee bend that usual. Since your stance is open you’re also going to want to open the club face. This will add loft and get the ball up quicker. Your ball position should be in the middle. And your swing should be longer with more acceleration. The trick is to slide your club underneath the ball without actually making contact with the ball.
Lastly, you’ll want to dig your feet in about an inch into the sand. This will give you a sturdier base. After doing so you can slightly choke up on the club and then you’re ready to make your swing.
We have a practice bunker area on our driving range which can be used for greenside and fairway bunker shots. Obviously, practice goes a long way with bunker shots. Add a bunker session to your next practice and I’m sure you’ll see improvement.
Brian D. Joyner
Class A PGA Teaching Professional, Carolinas PGA Section
1(252)772-7022 ext 2