Most golfers who I meet feel that they have a good grasp of how to play a greenside bunker shot - but what about long bunker shots?
Do you hit the shot with a square face?
Do you swing harder?
For the purpose of this video, we’re going to define a long bunker shot as a shot anywhere from 40-60 yards in length.
Applying a good technique can make this shot easier to execute, help you get the ball onto the green, and in time help make more sand saves.
Brian read our post on ‘Hitting a Greenside Bunker Shot,’ and had a question about hitting long bunker shots:
Hi Sean, I saw your video on the high bunker shot and my greenside bunker play has really improved. However, I’m still having a lot of issues with fifty yard bunker shots. Do you have any techniques or suggestions on playing this type of shot?
Club Selection for Long Bunker Shots
The first decision you have to make when hitting a long bunker shot is choosing what club to use.
I would suggest that the further you are away from the green, the more you should ‘club down.’
What I mean by this is that if you have a fifty yard bunker shot, you should consider playing it with an eight - or even a seven - iron, instead of what you might be tempted to use (i.e. a lob or sand wedge).
Trying to play this length of bunker shot with a lob or sand wedge forces us to be very precise.
This club selection is generally reserved for tour players, and at times they also struggle to execute precisely.
By choosing and using a club with less loft, it will provide you with more room for error when hitting a bunker shot of this distance.
While we will incorporate some of the same techniques with this shot as we used with the greenside bunker shot, a major difference will be the dynamic loft on the face at impact.
It’s the percentage play; if you don’t execute the shot as intended, you’ll find that you’ll still get and keep your shots on the green more often, giving you more chances to get up and down.
For your setup, the first thing you need to pay attention to is your weight distribution in your golf stance.
Your weight distribution should be evenly balanced between your feet - about fifty percent (50%) on the left leg and fifty percent (50%) on the right leg.
The golf ball needs to be placed forward in your stance, closer to the left foot (for a right handed golfer).
For this bunker shot, I would like you to widen your stance a little more than what you would normally do for bunker shots.
This will lower your center of gravity, get you lower to the ground, and make it easier to play this shot.
I would also like you to open the clubhead just a little, in order to expose the bounce to the sand.
Finally, stand a little more open than you normally would and make sure you still swing along your body line.
Now that you have the setup, you’re ready to hit the golf shot.
In your backswing, remember to rotate the face open a little bit.
This will help you at impact to return the head and handle to the same position that they were at during address.
Check out this video on How to Hit Long Bunker Shots: