Different golf courses feature different styles of bunkers. For instance, the sand in some bunkers takes on a concave or bowl shape; the ball will often funnel to the bottom, or hang up on the tilted face. In others, the sand lies flat across the bottom of the trap, producing uniform lies throughout the bunker.
In either case, you’ll inevitably face a shot that must clear a high lip to reach the green. This can actually be pretty easy if your ball lies on an upslope, since the hill will naturally add height to the shot. Getting the ball up and over a steep lip from a level lie requires correct technique.
Let’s say you’ve got to clear a lip that’s four feet high and less than two yards in front of you. Here’s how it’s done:
- Using a sand wedge or lob wedge, stand with your feet open to the target line (aligned left, for right-handers) by as much as 30°, or several feet left of where you want the ball to land.
- The clubface should also be opened slightly, pointing right of your target.
- Position the ball in the center or just forward of center in your stance and bend at the knees.
- Choose a spot about two inches behind the ball; this is where the club should enter the sand.
- With your focus on the entry point (not the ball), swing along the line of your body, accelerating the clubhead into your spot.
- As you pass through impact, hold the clubface open by keeping the back of your left hand pointed at the sky.
The ball will come out high, easily carry the lip and land softly. Remember, the higher you need to hit the ball, the more open you should stand.