Playing from a steep bunker face can be a challenging situation in golf. It requires precise execution and proper technique to get the ball out of the bunker and onto the green. Here are some helpful tips to improve your performance when faced with a steep bunker face:

  1. Assess the situation:
    • Evaluate the lie: Determine how the ball is sitting in the sand. Is it buried, plugged, or sitting up?
    • Analyze the slope: Take note of the steepness of the bunker face and the direction it slopes. This will help you plan your shot accordingly.
    • Consider the distance: Assess the distance from the bunker to the pin to determine the club selection.
  2. Choose the right club:
    • Select a lofted club: Use a sand wedge or lob wedge to increase the ball's trajectory and help it clear the steep bunker face.
    • Consider the bounce: Choose a club with more bounce to prevent the club from digging too deep into the sand, making it easier to strike the ball cleanly.
  3. Adjust your stance and setup:
    • Widen your stance: Place your feet shoulder-width apart to provide stability and a solid base for the shot.
    • Open your stance: Position your lead foot slightly towards the target to promote an out-to-in swing path and prevent the club from digging into the sand.
    • Dig your feet in: Use your feet to dig into the sand for better stability and to prevent slipping during the swing.
  4. Modify your swing technique:
    • Open the clubface: Rotate the clubface slightly open to increase the loft and help the ball get up quickly.
    • Swing along the slope: Follow the slope of the bunker face with your swing path to match the angle and improve contact with the ball.
    • Accelerate through impact: Maintain a smooth, accelerating swing through the sand, striking the sand behind the ball to lift it out.
  5. Focus on ball-first contact:
    • Aim to strike the ball first: Concentrate on hitting the ball before making contact with the sand. This will ensure a clean strike and prevent the club from getting stuck in the sand.
    • Visualize a shallow divot: Imagine taking a shallow divot after striking the ball, ensuring a clean entry into the sand.
  6. Control your trajectory and distance:
    • Vary your swing length: Adjust the length of your backswing and follow-through to control the distance the ball travels.
    • Use the slope to your advantage: If the bunker face slopes towards the green, take advantage of it by aiming slightly left or right to use the slope to funnel the ball towards the pin.
  7. Practice regularly:
    • Work on your bunker shots: Dedicate time to practicing shots from different bunker lies and faces, including steep bunker faces.
    • Develop consistency: Focus on developing a consistent swing and ball-striking technique to improve your overall performance from bunkers.

Remember, playing from a steep bunker face requires practice and patience. By following these tips and dedicating time to refine your technique, you can become more confident and proficient in handling this challenging situation on the golf course.

When a golf ball lands on the steep face of a greenside bunker, it will often roll down to the bottom of the sand. But not always. Sometimes the ball plugs into the slope; on slopes with less pitch, the ball will often stop before trickling all the way down.

The bad news is, playing from a steep bunker face can be awkward. The good news is, it’s not too difficult to extricate yourself. The key is not to try and lift the ball up and over the lip. The slope and your club’s loft will take care of that.

Follow these steps when faced with this shot:

playing from a steep binker face 1

  • Dig your right (back) foot firmly into the sand for stability. It’s easy to slide down the slope if you’re not securely planted.

playing from a steep binker face 2

  • Aim right of the target, as the ball will come out a little left (the more severe the incline, the farther left).

playing from a steep binker face 3

  • Play the ball slightly forward of the middle of your stance. With your feet spread evenly.

playing from a steep binker face 4

  • Align your body with the angle of the slope, leaning into it just a bit.

playing from a steep binker face 5

  • Swing aggressively, hitting the sand no more than an inch behind the ball. It’s not necessary to follow through with the clubhead.

The ball will fly very high and land softly, with little or no backspin.