Golf Tip: What is a “Pot Bunker” – and How Do You Play It? Video
Anytime, you watch the British Open, the Open Championship held around the links courses of the UK, one of the most noticeable features are the bunkers. There is often a lot of them, and they are often very steep sided, what we class as a pot bunker, literally a small bunker that just sits there by the side of the green, like a pot. And the difference with the pot bunkers, is they are often more of a penalty when people go in them. You might go in the bunker, it’s very small, there is not much of room to stand or to position your body, it’s often very steep sided, so the ball has got to come out very quickly.
And the pot bunkers are actually used by golf course designers to retain the sand, often a links golf course is very windy. And if you have big open flat bunkers, that you often see on American style resort courses, the wind would just whip the sand away and dump all the sand over somebody else’s green or someone else’s tee. So the golf course designers around the UK on the links golf courses design very small bunkers, very steep sided, literally trapping the sand inside them, so the wind can’t blow all the sand away. Really good features to sort of protect a golf course, you look at something like the 17th at St Andrews, there is only one bunker on that hole, but it’s the Road Hole bunker right by the side of the green. The surface area of the sand is very tight and very small, only just bigger than this mat.
The catchment area of the bunker is much larger, and then the wall in front of you is about head height. I have stood in that bunker and it’s about head height for me with a very small green just on the other side. So the way we play pot bunkers, these maybe slightly different from a normal bunker shot. First, we take more loft, we take the most lofted club, you have got. If you have got a steep wall to get over, you get on to your lob wedge. You can then add more loft and add more bounce, so adding more loft and more bounce, he has taken the golf club, twisting it in your grip, so it points it to about 2 o’clock, then bringing it down behind the ball. So we almost laze like get a glass of wine by on the club face there, almost vertically. That would then hit the ball to the right for the right handed golfer, so I now need to compensate for that by aiming left. So that face points to the right, I then aim down the left, now the club face points at my target, straight off the big steep lift. I then make quite a long backswing with quite a big wrist hinge.
That picks the club up nice and steeply and generates enough power, because when I hit this, the ball isn’t going to travel forwards very much, it’s going to cover up very quickly, off a very lofted face over the very lofted lip. So it’s quite a big backswing, drive that club face underneath the ball and pop the ball out nicely. Nice and committed, with plenty of follow through and that’s how you play pot bunkers.