Greenside Greatness

Get up and down when you’re just off the green


As you can see here, I've got a 40-yard bunker shot, which is arguably one of the game's hardest tests. I'll show you two ways to play it, depending on the kind of sand that you find in the bunker.

The first is when the sand is pretty firm. Take your most lofted wedge (in this case, I've chosen my 60° lob wedge) and pick it clean, taking sand only after you hit the ball. To help pick it clean, I've moved the ball about an inch back in my stance and am placing a little more weight on my left side. This helps create a downward blow and ensures that the club bottoms out a little bit earlier than usual so I'm sure to catch the ball first. I stand tall at address and remain so through the shot.

When the sand is soft and fluffy, I use a 9-iron and play it like a standard greenside bunker shot. Place the ball a little ahead of your normal position and make a swing that catches some sand before the ball. A nice normal-length swing should do the trick.

Like all shots that you aren't faced with very often, it's vital to practice both of these options as much as possible. After you master them, you won't feel as anxious when your ball lands in the kitty litter.


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