3 Back of The Bunker Shot Techniques To Try

    You are usually going to have only three options when in the back of a bunker – play to the middle of the trap, play out backwards, or play out sideways. However, there will be some instances where you are actually able to play up toward the hole. This may be the case when your ball isn’t too close to the back of the trap, so you can make a reasonable swing in the proper direction. Or, you might be able to go for the target thanks to a low lip on the bunker, meaning you don’t have to produce a high shot to get up onto the green.

    When an opportunity does come along to play toward the hole from the back of a bunker, remember the tips below.

  • Use early wrist set for a narrow backswing. To allow yourself to make a full swing in the bunker without hitting the back wall of the trap, try setting your wrists earlier than normal to narrow your swing path. With an early set, the club head will move up into the air quicker, and the club will swing a shorter distance back behind you. This is a technique that takes a little bit of practice, but it can be quite effective once you learn how to use it properly. In fact, you can use this technique in the grass as well, when you need to chop down on the ball in deep grass. Try setting your wrists early on some bunker shots during your next practice session so you are comfortable with this method when it is called for on the course.
  • Be happy to hit the green. You can get in trouble on this kind of shot if you are too picky about leaving the ball right next to the hole. Trying to pull off a perfect shot could cause you to hit the ball fat and leave it in the bunker. Of course, you would love to hit the ball close to the hole, but your first goal should be to simply get up onto the green. If you can accomplish that goal, you’ll at least have a chance to make a putt and save your up and down. Getting greedy in this kind of difficult situation is a common mistake, so be sure to stay patient and understand that simply hitting the green is a good result.
  • Swing down the slope. As we mentioned earlier, you will probably be playing on a downslope when trying to hit toward the green from the back of a bunker. If you are swinging down a slope, it is important to stay down on the shot and keep your club head moving down along the angle of the sand. If you pull up early to look at the green, you will likely hit the shot thin – and the ball will probably stay in the bunker. Keep your head down throughout this swing, and keep your eyes on the ball, to make sure your club goes into the sand at the appropriate point. It is possible to hit quality bunker shots from a downslope, but you have to be disciplined enough to resist the temptation of looking up before the shot is on its way.
  • Think twice before you decide to play the ball up toward the hole from this difficult spot in the back of a greenside bunker. You are already in a tough spot, and you don’t want to waste a stroke playing your ball into an even worse position. If you think you can pull it off, feel free to take a chance and go for the hole – but be sure to keep the three tips above in the back of your mind while playing the shot.