Fundamentals of Golf – Part 7

The green side bunker shot

The green side bunker shot is one that puts fear into a lot of amateur golfers, yet it is one that when the correct technique is applied can be a great shot saver.

When we find the ball in the bunker we must take a few things into account before playing the shot.

  1. What is the lie like? is it buried or sitting on top of the sand?
  2. How much green is there between the ball and the flag?
  3. How high is the lip of the bunker?
  4. Can I play the shot directly towards the flag?

Having discovered that the ball is sitting nicely on top of the sand, the first thing we do is to take a hold of the club with the face slightly open, now align the body left of target to bring the leading edge of the club back towards the target. Shuffle the feet into the sand, this will do a couple of things:

Allow us to get a feel of the depth and texture of the sand.

Lower the base of the swing to encourage us to hit the sand not the ball.

Having taken the stance we want to play the shot with a ball position that is slightly forward, again this will encourage the sand to be hit and not the ball.

Now concentrate on the sand approximately  1 inch behind the ball, swing along the line of the body and keep the face of the club looking at the sky through impact. The pocket of sand that the club hits will throw the ball out of the sand towards the flag.

If you come across a buried lie in the sand it is firstly important to set up a little more square to the target and not open the face as we want to drive the leading edge of the club into the sand and dig a little more to get the ball out of the bunker. This shot is a little less controllable and the ball will tend to run more than the splash shot and through practice you can learn how far each of the two lies will run out.

The finished shot will see the explosion of sand throwing the ball out and if you are as good as Henrik Stenson you will be very good.