Letting It Roll, Running Bunker Shot

The spinning sand shot is a great weapon to have in your bag. There are certain situations where the ability to spin a bunker shot is going to come in handy. You might not need to play this kind of shot frequently, but when the occasion does arrive, you’ll be happy you took the time to learn this skill.

When getting ready to play a greenside bunker shot, you have two basic options – play your spinning shot to stop the ball soon after it lands, or play a running shot where the ball lands on the green with little spin and bounces and rolls up to the cup. While it might seem like it could be difficult to pick between these two, the choice should actually be pretty easy most of the time. Basically, you are going to default to playing a shot that rolls out toward the hole, and only turn to the spinning option when it is necessary.

So, when you step down into a bunker to assess what you are facing, think first about how it would look to play a bounce and roll type of bunker shot. Is there enough room to play such a shot? Would the ball be able to come to rest in time to stop near the cup? If you think this type of shot will work, your planning is done and you can get ready to hit the shot. Since this is generally the easiest option, you should default in this direction, as long as the circumstances at hand will permit it.

Should you decide that letting the ball roll out is not going to work, you’ll then need to think about playing the spinning shot. Of course, you have to confirm that you have a good enough lie to spin the ball, and the length of the shot needs to be reasonable. You don’t want to force the spinning shot when it isn’t called for, since it can go wrong and lead to even more trouble. Only proceed when you are sure that this is the right option for the shot you are facing.

If the course you are playing on a given day happens to offer a practice bunker, be sure to hit a few warm up shots before heading to the first tee. Try to hit both spinning shots and shots that are meant to bounce and roll. By preparing yourself to produce both kinds of shots on command, you will feel confident that you can opt for the best shot in any given situation.

Make no mistake – the spinning sand shot is a difficult one to execute with regularity. You have little margin for error when going in this direction, since missing your intended contact point by even a small amount can result in ugly outcomes. We hope the tips provided in this article will help you learn how to use the spinning sand shot when the time is right. Remember, it is always necessary to practice before you attempt a new shot on the course, so carve out some time in an upcoming practice session and get to work. Good luck!