Are you having difficulty with plugged or “fried egg” bunker shots?
Leslie has been having difficulty with this type of lie and wrote to us and asked:
Hi Sean, I’ve been having a lot of trouble with plugged bunker shots or “fried eggs” as I’ve heard them called. Can you give me a few pointers to get out of the bunker a little easier?
For almost all bunker shots, I’m a huge advocate of using the bounce of the club to assist you.
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However, in the case of a plugged ball, I don’t want the bounce to be the first part of the club to enter the sand. With this particular shot, we need to dig the ball out of the lie - so it’s paramount that the leading edge of the club enters the sand first.
If you use the bounce, it will be very difficult to get the leading edge under the ball and dig it out.
Flat Stance, Plugged Lie Bunker Shot
For this particular lie, we want the leading edge of the club to enter the sand first.
You will play this shot with a square clubface, because it will be easier to get the leading edge underneath the ball.
There is no need to open the clubhead for this type of shot.
We need to drop the clubhead steeply into the sand, about an inch behind the ball.
From a setup perspective, I’d like you to play this shot with the ball in the center of your stance, or just slightly back in your stance.
For a right-handed golfer, make sure there is more weight on your left side (lead side) at setup. The weight distribution should be around 60% - favoring your left side.
You need a very steep angle of attack on this particular shot compared to other bunker shots.
I want you to feel like you’re not creating much width on your backswing, but instead creating an up and down movement (i.e. that you’re picking the golf club up).
This will make it easier to create that steep angle of attack.
I don’t want you to worry too much about following through for this particular shot. If the club happens to stick in the ground, that’s okay.
Uphill Stance, Plugged Lie Bunker Shot
I just described a plugged ball for a level stance where there isn’t much incline or slope.
However, most plugged lies that we encounter are under the lip of a bunker, meaning our stance is very uneven and that we need to brace ourselves against the slope to hit the shot.
Everything I described for the setup in the previous shot will remain pretty much the same, with the ball position being in the center, to slightly back in the stance.
Due to the uphill slope, you’re going to have to favor 60% of the weight in your lead side - or maybe a little more depending on the severity of the slope.
I want you to feel like you’re making a backswing with very little width; it should feel like you’re picking the club up and creating an “up and down” motion.
This will make it easier for you to have a steep angle of attack, driving the leading edge of the club into the sand about one inch behind the ball.
I don’t want you to be too concerned with follow through; if the club happens to stick in the ground after you hit the shot, it’s okay.
Finally, one thing a lot of good players do with this type of stance and lie is that they fall back once the club has entered the sand. This will assist you, helping the ball get out of this lie and up onto the green.
Watch the tour players on TV; you’ll notice that when they hit a plugged lie on an upslope, they will fall back to help them get the ball in the air easier.
Check out this video where I show you how to hit a plugged bunker shot in real time:
Here’s The Next Step:
If you’d like something as a reminder when you go to practice bunker or golf course to help you hit plugged bunker shots, then download the bonus below.
You'll receive a free step-by-step checklist that shows you the step-by-step process to help hitting these types of shots.
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