How to Hit Long Bunker Shots Close

Friday June 27th, 2008
Bob Atkins

The Situation

\nYour ball has come to rest in a bunker about 20 yards from the green and about 30 yards from the pin.

What You're Probably Thinking

You're a pretty good greenside bunker player, so you'll use you regular bunker technique but make a longer backswing. The problem is, your regular bunker swing with your sand wedge is good for only about 20 yards, and you end up way short of the hole.

The Better Solution

Keep your trusty bunker cues close, but make the following adjustments when you have more than 20 yards between you and the green. Also, use your 9-iron instead of your sand wedge — it'll help you move the sand faster and farther.

Extra Body Make sure to turn through the shot like you would with an iron in the fairway. (The reason you don't dig in with your feet is so you can do this.)

Almost square clubface Set the clubface just slightly open at address and don't try to keep it open through impact like you do with your greenside bunker swing. Make a full swing, including a full release after contact.

Narrow Stance Pull your feet in closer together and just barely dig them into the sand. This will help you produce a shallower divot and get it — and the ball — moving faster toward the target.

Full finish Quit on this swing and you won't reach the green. Keep moving everything — body, arms and club — into a full finish.

Heel down You won't have a solid stance with this shot, so keep your feet grounded as best as you can. Don't try to pivot onto your right toe like you normally do or you'll risk losing your balance.

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