High and Soft Bunker Shots

By John Burckle

Learn how to hit your bunker shots high and soft.

Most golfers struggle to get out the sand and when they find themselves in a bunker, they panic that they may not get out. Tour professionals prefer to be in a bunker rather than thick rough. Why? Because once you learn the correct technique to bunker play, you’ll find it’s much easier to predict what the ball will do than you can from thick grass.

John Burckle Bunker Lesson
Pic #1 Brooks Koepka

Let’s learn a couple things that are a must in approaching a bunker shot. Let’s start with hitting a high soft shot that stops quickly. You’ll need to get that club face open (pic 2). You need to learn how to use the bounce or bottom of the club and not the leading edge.  This allows the bottom of your sand wedge not to dig into the sand but instead glide through the sand. Second get your stance wide and flex your knees (pic 1). Third get those hands low at address a must for making sure that club stays open. Notice in the picture how Brooks Koepka has set up to hit this nice soft shot. It’s a must to get the set up right. Remember it’s not like a pitch from the grass.


Pic #2 and #3

Now hitting the shot. One of the keys to hitting that soft bunker shot is keeping that club face open as you slide that club through the sand. I try to hit an inch or so behind the ball and let sand splash the ball out. I’m never trying to dig or help the ball out. Keep your legs flexed and feet quiet. You don’t want your feet moving too much as you hit the shot. Don’t force it, let the club do the work. If you need to hit the ball further and lower get club face more aligned to the target (pic 3).

Keys to remember. Feet wide apart with plenty of knee flex. Club face open and hands low at address. Let the sand push the ball out.

It’s a must to get to a practice bunker and practice these techniques. Once you get the hang of it, sand play will no longer be a score killer.


Director of Instruction at GolfLabAcademy.com
25 Years Teaching Experience
80 Professional Wins
6X Golden State Tour Order of Merit Champion

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