Greenside Bunker Tips

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By Brandon S

  • 11 Likes
  • 18 Replies
  1. A greenside bunker shot can be one of the scariest situations a golf will encounter during a round...but it really doesn't have to be! A few basic setup principles and technique knowledge can go a long way to giving you the best chance to get it out of the bunker with some control over the ball when it lands on the green. Try out these "lines" the next time you're practicing out of the bunker and your anxiety should start to melt away quickly!! Let me know if you have any questions by posting in the comments section...I'll do my best to back to you quickly.

  2. Chris92009

    Chris92009
    Cincinnati, Ohio

    Great video and tips!
  3. Thanks...let me know how it goes when you try it!!
  4. Thanks for the tip, Brandon!

    Quick question, Brandon - it looks like you set up with your stance square to the target line. With the face open, will the ball squirt to the right a bit? Do you you have to aim left at all to compensate? Thanks!
  5. Great question...I get that one all the time! The answer is no...you don't have to aim left to accommodate the open face. Two reasons: 1) when you open the face of a high lofted club like a sand wedge or lob wedge, the face doesn't actually point very much to the right. It's the same reason a 9 iron won't curve as much as a 4 iron or driver...the loft makes the face point more "up" as opposed to right or left. 2) You're not actually hitting the ball with the club...you're hitting the sand...and an open face won't have near the effect on the direction the sand flies as compared to what it would do if you hit the ball cleanly. All that is to say that you DO NOT have to open your feet or aim left in the bunker to counteract the face being open. You can do that...you just make it unnecessarily harder on yourself!

    Hope that makes sense...
  6. Brandon S said:

    Great question...I get that one all the time! The answer is no...you don't have to aim left to accommodate the open face. Two reasons: 1) when you open the face of a high lofted club like a sand wedge or lob wedge, the face doesn't actually point very much to the right. It's the same reason a 9 iron won't curve as much as a 4 iron or driver...the loft makes the face point more "up" as opposed to right or left. 2) You're not actually hitting the ball with the club...you're hitting the sand...and an open face won't have near the effect on the direction the sand flies as compared to what it would do if you hit the ball cleanly. All that is to say that you DO NOT have to open your feet or aim left in the bunker to counteract the face being open. You can do that...you just make it unnecessarily harder on yourself!

    Hope that makes sense...

    It does. Thanks again, Brandon. Can't wait to learn more from you!
  7. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC

    Brandon S said:

    Great question...I get that one all the time! The answer is no...you don't have to aim left to accommodate the open face. Two reasons: 1) when you open the face of a high lofted club like a sand wedge or lob wedge, the face doesn't actually point very much to the right. It's the same reason a 9 iron won't curve as much as a 4 iron or driver...the loft makes the face point more "up" as opposed to right or left. 2) You're not actually hitting the ball with the club...you're hitting the sand...and an open face won't have near the effect on the direction the sand flies as compared to what it would do if you hit the ball cleanly. All that is to say that you DO NOT have to open your feet or aim left in the bunker to counteract the face being open. You can do that...you just make it unnecessarily harder on yourself!

    Hope that makes sense...

    Great point and something I realized yesterday. Bought a new 58.12 D wedge at the TT Vokey wedge experience at Pinehurst Experience this year and it has really helped me a lot but noticed I have been hitting left out of the sand and that was the reason. With the new lighter weight shaft, which Mr Vokey picked out, I have been able to improve my short game tremendously with more up and downs, but have been left. Show and tell works with me. This re enforces my stance with this club and the short lesson they gave me while I was there. Thank you for the reminder. Makes for a lot more shorter putts. Also helpful on the other short clubs from the fairway. Cheers.
  8. I see that issue (aiming/swinging left to "counter-act" the open face) all the time...most people do really well with it once they realize you can hit it with an open face and don't have to aim/swing left. Keep up the good work!
  9. Jim S

    Jim S
    East Point, GA

    Another great way to play a bunker shot. I will try this weekend. Thanks again for the tip.
  10. Happy to help...good luck with it on the course!
  11. Todd G

    Todd G
    SYRACUSE, NY

    Brandon S said:

    A greenside bunker shot can be one of the scariest situations a golf will encounter during a round...but it really doesn't have to be! A few basic setup principles and technique knowledge can go a long way to giving you the best chance to get it out of the bunker with some control over the ball when it lands on the green. Try out these "lines" the next time you're practicing out of the bunker and your anxiety should start to melt away quickly!! Let me know if you have any questions by posting in the comments section...I'll do my best to back to you quickly.

    Great video...explained well and simply. My question is, what if you are playing off of hard sand? Most of the courses I play are local Muni's.

    Thank you.

    Todd
  12. Harpan doesn't really change the plan...it just means you have to be more precise at controlling where the club hits the ball and you won't have to put quite as much energy into the "hit" because the bunker sand will provide less resistance to the club.

    Great question!
  13. N Anthony S

    N Anthony S
    Portland, OR

    Really appreciate the tip. I will be giving it a try this afternoon.
  14. Goldpanner

    Goldpanner
    Trail, BC

    Interesting concept.

    My issues are either barely getting out of the green side bunker and not on the green or skulling the ball 60 feet across the green.

    Part of my confidence issues are:
    1) trying to get to the flag from a bunker that is only 15 feet away
    2) trying to get to the flag from a bunker that is 60 feet away

    I usually come up short in both instances above.

    I will try your technique next time at the practice range.
  15. Goldpanner said:

    Interesting concept.

    My issues are either barely getting out of the green side bunker and not on the green or skulling the ball 60 feet across the green.

    Part of my confidence issues are:
    1) trying to get to the flag from a bunker that is only 15 feet away
    2) trying to get to the flag from a bunker that is 60 feet away

    I usually come up short in both instances above.

    I will try your technique next time at the practice range.

    Hitting too far behind the ball (ball won't get out of the bunker) and skulling it across the green are usually caused by the same problem in a bunker. Make sure your chest/head are moving slightly forward to start the downswing. If they move backward in the least little bit you're DOOMED!!!
  16. Lance P

    Lance P
    Hillsborough, NC

    Thanks for the great lesson Brandon. With some bunker practice I should (will!) improve.
  17. I have struggled out of the bunkers and I think it's due to not much sand where I normally play. Thank you for the great video and will definitely try it out.
  18. Mike M

    Mike M
    Salem MA

    Thanks Brandon. Great video and helpful tips.Also wouldn't you agree that one of the keys to solid greenside bunker play is club head speed/acceleration at impact? I think you'll agree a lot of amateurs tend to de-cel, especially to a tight pin.On grass when you de-cel, at least the ball will move in a forward direction,even if the club de-cels at impact.As we've all experienced when that happens in a bunker the ball usually remains there.

    Your thoughts?
  19. You make a good point about the difference in grass and a bunker when you "de-cel." That said, I typically don't see as much of that as you might think out of a bunker. Usually when golfers feel "de-cel" what they're really feeling is the sand taking all the energy out of the club b/c they have either hit too far behind the ball or used too much of the leading edge and the club dug into the sand instead of gliding over the top like it's supposed to do. Sand wedges are meant to glide instead of dig!

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