Bounce the Ball Through a Bunker When Choices are Limited, Golf Tip

When your ball comes to rest near the green with a bunker between you and the hole, there are usually two options:

  • Hit the ball over the bunker, or play sideways around the sand.

    There could be a third choice you haven’t considered: Bouncing the ball through the bunker. Conditions must be just right, of course. A quick survey of the situation should tell you whether it’s a go, or not. Look for these factors:

  • A small lip (or none at all) between the sand’s surface and the green.
  • Firm sand; sand that’s smooth and compact from rain is ideal.
  • A lie that allows you to get plenty of club on the ball and play a low, running shot. If the ball is nestled in thick grass, consider a different option.
  • One more prerequisite: You must be confident in your ability to get the ball out of the sand should your attempt come up short. If you dread hitting from bunkers, it may be best to take your medicine and go around.

    If all conditions are met, hitting the shot is relatively simple. It’s a basic Bump-and-run, executed like this:

  • Choose a less-lofted club that lets you keep the ball low – a 7-iron, for example.
  • Pick a spot inside the bunker or just short of it where you want the ball to land.
  • Take a narrow stance with the ball toward your right foot (left foot for lefties).
  • The hands should be ahead of the clubhead, the shaft leaning toward the target.
  • Don’t get cute; focus on hitting the ball hard enough to get it through the bunker, even if it means going past the hole.
  • Make a short backswing and follow through, accelerating through the shot and keeping the hands ahead of the ball at impact.
  • You’ll need a little luck, of course, to get the ball on the green and near the hole. But as long as conditions are in your favor and you execute correctly, your next shot should at least be clear of the sand.