GOLFTEC: Fear the high bunker shot no more!

Hitting out of a greenside bunker.

Finding your ball in a greenside bunker that requires the high, soft shot might be intimidating, but not after reading this.

By Sabrina Naccarato

Discovering your ball has landed in the soft, fluffy sand instead of on the rolling green is often a lovely punch to the gut. This feeling intensifies when you walk up to your ball and find a relatively large lip you’ll have to escape to successfully make it onto the green. Oh, and there’s hardly any landing area between the greenside bunker and flag. Golf is fun.

If you’ve ever been in this situation, or a situation like this, you can understand the instant feeling of intimidation. However, rather than automatically assuming you’re going to fire the ball into the lip of the bunker or send it screaming over the green, Director of Teaching Quality, Patrick Nuber has a few tips to aid in this exact position.

When in doubt, go the safe way out

For all of the bogey golfers out there, the best plan of action is to play it safe. Yes, it’s exciting to go pin seeking but when there are multiple factors working against you, the safer route is the best option.

So, instead of aiming towards the flag, your target should be the middle of the green where there’s less of a lip and more of a generous landing area. This way, you should land the ball on the green, giving yourself a solid chance at a two-putt.

Demonstrating where to aim on the green

Go big and go for the pin

On the other hand, if you’re a higher skilled player, you can take a go at the pin with these simple tips. First, grab a higher lofted wedge. That’ll help get the ball up and over the lip. Then you’ll need to open up the face of the club to increase the trajectory. Lowering the handle of the club will help with that as well.

Lastly, but maybe the most important, you’ll want to swing a little quicker than a normal bunker shot. Because when you add loft and increase the trajectory, you’ll need to up the speed to ensure it goes the intended distance.

Getting out of a greenside bunker by opening the club face.

Grabbing a higher lofted wedge and manipulating your swing takes practice and isn’t a skill you should take out on the course right away. Once you allow the time to practice this technique, it can absolutely pay off on the course but until then, take the safe route.


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Colorado AvidGolfer Magazine is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com.

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