The downhill bunker shot is one of the more challenging shots you’ll encounter on the golf course.
We know that based on the slope, the ball will launch lower than normal. The main concern is getting the shot airborne quickly enough so that the ball carries the lip of the bunker and stays on the green.
A sound technique will make this shot easier to play - with consistent practice leading to better results.
Brett was having trouble with his downhill bunker shot and wrote:
Hi Sean, I have been having a lot of difficulty with downhill green side bunker shots. I really have no idea how I should play them. Could you please suggest some tips and share some information on how to play this type of shot?
Downhill Bunker Shot Setup
Brett, the first thing I want you to do is to address the ball so that your body is level with the gradient of the slope.
Your hips and our shoulders should be parallel to the slope. The golf ball is going to be pretty much in the middle of your stance for this particular shot.
Along with getting your body parallel with the slope, I want you to aim your body slightly to the left of the target (for a right handed golfer).
Don’t Do This
I think one of the major problems that a lot of amateurs golfers struggle with is that they hang back on their trail leg in an effort to help the ball into the air.
It's very important to keep pressure and weight on your lead leg during the swing. Doing this will help prevent your hitting too far behind the ball.
I want you to set the club head extremely open for this shot, and I also want you are to rotate club head more open on the backswing ,so that it maximizes the loft on the club face at impact.
I want you to picture that you’re swinging inside of a phone booth.
It’s going to be difficult to get any width in the backswing.
Instead, you’ll need a narrow backswing; you should feel like your hands and arms are working more ‘up and down’ and not ‘out and away’ from your body. (Watch the video below to see it in action.)
Using this technique will help the club come down a little steeper into the back of the ball and make it easier to play this type of shot.
You don’t hit this shot that often in a round of golf, but you want to be ready just in case.
Check out this video on How to Hit a Downhill Bunker Shot:
Here’s The Next Step:
If you’d like something as a reminder when you go to driving range or golf course to help you hit a downhill bunker shot, then download the bonus below.
You'll receive a free step-by-step checklist that shows you the exact step-by-step process to hitting downhill bunker shots.