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Long Greenside Bunker Shots

Long Greenside Bunkers are dips or depressions in the ground that are filled with sand and are located close to or around the green. The difference between a "long" greenside bunker and a "typical" greenside bunker is that long greenside bunker shots are usually in the 30-70 yard range. This makes them particularly difficult because a player can't do a typical greenside spash shot or use their full swing. A partial golf swing with less sand is usually required and that necessitates a good amount of skill to control. All bunkers are considered hazards and therefor a player cannot ground their club or touch the sand without incurring a 2 stroke penalty.

Long Greenside Bunker Shots Drills

Long Greenside Bunker Shots Tips

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  • Keep Left When in the Sand

    For all bunker shots keep your weight on your front foot. When you back up or fall backwards during the swing you will bottom out too soon and get your club head stuck in the sand. Do this in moderation though, because the more you lean forward, the more you will dig and that will cause the ball may come out shorter. Just remember you don't want all your weight on your back foot at impact.

  • Strike Close for More Spin

    For sand shots, to control the distance of your shot and the spin on the ball, you can alter how close to the ball you enter the sand. The closer you hit to the ball and the less sand you take, the more spin you will get and the further the ball will fly. The more sand you take and the further you hit behind the ball, the less the ball will fly and the more the ball will release on the green.

  • Swing From 10 to 2

    For the typical greenside bunker shot use the face of a clock for the length of your swing. Swing from 10:00 on your backswing to 2:00 on your follow through. This will help ensure that you are making a big enough backswing to get some acceleration and that you accelerate all the way through to the finish. Obviously for very short or very long shots you may have to adjust the length a bit.

  • Play the Ball Forward

    When hitting out of the sand play the ball forward of the center of your stance to catch it on the up swing. Catching the ball on the up swing results in a shallower angle of attack which will help prevent digging. If you play it back and catch it too much on the downswing you will actually push the ball down into the sand. This holds true for both greenside and fairway bunker shots.

  • Stay Aggressive on Bunker Shots

    When hitting sand shots be sure to stay aggressive and swing hard. Remember, as long as you hit sand, the shot will come out short so you won't over shoot the green. Decelerating is a killer in the sand. It results in chunky shots that don't leave the bunker or skulled shots that fly over the green. Make sure you accelerate all the way to a finish that is at least as high as your shoulders.

  • Open the Face First; Grip It Second

    When setting up for a greenside bunker shot, you should lay your clubface open first, then place your hands on the grip. Golfers often make the mistake of taking their normal grip and then twisting their arms until the face is open. This will affect the direction of your takeaway and force the club inside too much. Instead, lay the club open and then take your normal grip and arm position as you set up.

  • Dig in Only For Stability

    When you are in a bunker it is important to dig in for stability as you want a strong, stable lower body. Be careful not to dig in too much or you will hit too deep into the sand and the shot will come up short. Choke down on the club approximately the same amount that you dig in to help prevent fat shots.

  • Square Up For Firm Sand

    When you are in a greenside bunker and the sand is firm set your club face more square. Setting it open will use too much of the bounce on the back of the clubhead. This can cause you to bounce off of the sand and skull shots over the green. If the sand is really hard or wet, you will need a little more dig. You might want even want to use a pitching wedge or lob wedge to cut down on the bounce and be safe.

  • Open Your Face to Prevent Digging

    When your ball lands in a greenside bunker, open your club face to use the bounce on the bottom of the club. The bounce is the back edge of the club. When you use the bounce it will prevent digging and help you skid through the sand. If you enter the sand with the leading edge of the club head it will dig and cause your club to get stuck in the sand. The result is a ball that doesn't come out of the sand or comes out short with little backspin.

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