In golf, Should I open the clubface for bunker shots?

One of the most challenging shots in golf is the bunker shot. Getting out of a bunker with finesse and control requires proper technique and understanding of how to manipulate the clubface. One common question that arises is whether or not to open the clubface for bunker shots. Let's explore this topic further.

Understanding the clubface angle:

Firstly, it's crucial to understand the clubface angle and how it affects the ball's trajectory. The clubface angle refers to the angle at which the clubface is positioned in relation to the target line. In a traditional bunker shot, the clubface is generally open or pointed slightly to the right of the target.

Advantages of opening the clubface:

  • Increased loft: Opening the clubface increases the loft on the club, allowing the ball to get up and out of the bunker more easily. This is especially beneficial for shots that require a higher trajectory to clear a lip or reach the green.
  • More bounce: Bunker shots typically require the use of a sand wedge or lob wedge, both of which have a significant amount of bounce. By opening the clubface, you expose more of the bounce to the sand, which helps prevent the club from digging too deep and getting stuck.
  • Increased margin of error: Opening the clubface can also provide a greater margin of error. It allows you to swing more aggressively without the fear of the club digging into the sand too much.

Considerations when opening the clubface:

While opening the clubface can be advantageous in certain situations, it's important to keep in mind a few considerations:

  • Practice and familiarity: Opening the clubface significantly changes the dynamics of the shot. Before using this technique on the course, it's essential to spend time practicing and becoming comfortable with the adjustments it requires.
  • Shot selection: Opening the clubface isn't always the best option for every bunker shot. Factors such as the distance to the pin, lip height, and sand conditions should be taken into account when deciding whether or not to open the clubface.
  • Sand type: The type of sand in the bunker can also influence your decision to open the clubface. Soft, fluffy sand may require more loft, while firm or compacted sand may require less.

Experiment and find your preference:

Ultimately, the decision to open the clubface for a bunker shot is subjective and depends on your personal preference and comfort level. It's worth experimenting with different techniques during practice rounds to discover what works best for you.


Opening the clubface for bunker shots can provide several advantages, including increased loft, more bounce, and a greater margin of error. However, it's essential to consider factors such as shot selection, sand type, and practice time before deciding to incorporate this technique into your bunker play. Ultimately, finding the right balance between technique and personal preference will lead to successful bunker shots on the golf course.