Getting Over Bunkers in the Short Game

Playing over bunkers in the short game might actually be more intimidating than having to hit a full shot over a bunker from back in the fairway. We usually think of bunkers being a problem in the short game when your ball is actually in the sand, but they can be just as worrisome when you have to chip over them and onto the green. In this article, we are going to offer some advice and techniques on how to deal with just such a shot.

To set the scene, let’s picture that same hole from the previous section. There is a bunker in front of the green, and the hole is cut only a short distance beyond the trap. You hit a good drive, but your second shot goes wrong, and you wind up leaving the ball way short of the green. In fact, you leave your approach shot so far short that you don’t even reach the bunker. Now, you have to pitch the ball over the bunker and onto the green, and you have very little green to work with before reaching the hole.

So, how do you deal with this situation? Well, the first step is to take a deep breath and relax after hitting such a poor approach shot. You are probably a little bit frustrated, and that frustration is not going to help you deal with this challenging pitch shot. Once you have calmed down and moved on from the previous shot, you can go ahead and get ready to play the ball up and over the bunker.

On this kind of shot, you are going to have to balance your desire to get the ball close to the hole with the need to safely clear the trap. The mistake you need to avoid here, obviously, is leaving this chip shot short and letting the ball fall into the sand. If you make that mistake, you will suddenly be staring at something like a double- or triple-bogey, and major damage will have been done to your scorecard. So, no matter how badly you want to play the perfect shot in order to set up an easy putt for your up and down, the number one objective in this situation needs to be getting over the bunker and onto the green safely.

To make it more likely that you will play a quality shot, trying to pick out a specific landing spot before you make your swing. Take a look at the area up around the hole and decide where you would like the ball to come down. Then, when you are standing over the shot getting ready to make your swing, think about nothing other than that landing spot. Put the bunker out of your mind and dedicate all of your focus and ability to the task of landing the ball as close to that spot as you can. Getting specific with your plan on this shot should help you set the nerves aside and chip the ball cleanly over the sand.

It’s always going to be a little nerve-wracking when you need to play any kind of shot over a bunker. We hope the advice and techniques provided in this article will help you deal with these kinds of shots successfully in upcoming rounds. You aren’t going to be able to avoid the sand in every instance, but planning smart shots should keep you on the grass more often than not. Good luck!