Tip from the Pros: The Short-Sided Bunker Shot

Photo by Richard Carter
Photo by Richard Carter

What do you do when you’ve short sided yourself in a green-side bunker?  (When your ball comes to rest inside the bunker, close to the front edge of the green, and you don’t have any room on the green to land it close to the flagstick)

Here are a few quick pointers to help you get out of a jam:

1. Open the clubface

  • To properly open the clubface, you need to rotate the club open and THEN take your grip with your left hand.

2. Lean the shaft away from the target

  • You’ll want to set-up with the golf ball forward in your stance, near your front foot.  To have the shaft lean away from the target simply make sure your hands are behind the golf ball. You’re probably thinking you are going to hit behind the ball if you do this…This is good, we don’t want to hit the golf ball during a bunker shot. So to help with that thought, focus on a spot behind the golf ball for the club to enter the sand.

3. Acceleration through the ball with an ABBREVIATED FOLLOW THROUGH

  • First things first, get the ball out of the bunker. You’ll want to definitely error on the side of hitting the ball past the flag.  As for the golf swing, take it back half way and then splash the ball out with the sand, making sure to abbreviate your follow through.  You don’t want to finish more than waist high.

A quick recap:
Open the clubface, make an accelerated swing splashing the sand out, with an abbreviated follow through.

Follow these quick tips and you’ll be pulling off those fancy short-sided bunker shots in no time.

Alan Unruh

Alan Unruh is a Class “A” member of the PGA of America, and holds PGA Certifications in General Management, Golf Operations and Player Development. With these certifications, he is among the 1% of PGA members that hold multiple PGA Certifications. He has a profound passion for the game of golf along with extensive experience and knowledge regarding planning and strategy for golf operations, rules of golf, tournament operations and golf swing fundamentals. Alan has also played a crucial role helping manage multiple high profile tournaments throughout his career including the USGA Women’s U.S. Open, PGA and LPGA Tour events, and multiple NCAA and AJGA events.