How to play short bunker shots

If you find yourself facing a short bunker shot, the natural adjustment I see many players make is to go down the grip without then making crucial further adjustments.

This can harm your ability to escape successfully from the sand. If you go down the grip, then take your address position, your posture will be different to normal as you’ll end up bending too far over.

This causes the club to work up and down on an overly steep path. It will then dig in at impact and the ball will fail to clear the lip.

It’s a common scenario that can easily undermine your confidence. Remember that you need to find a shallow angle of attack when playing from sand to get the most out of the bounce of your wedge.

Instead of trying to control the distance of the shot by swinging more softly, go down the grip a little, but crucially, remember to flex your knees more than usual.

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This will ensure your back is more upright and your swing plane is spot on for the correct shallow angle of attack.


1. Weaken your grip by moving your hands further round to the left than your normal grip. This will help stop your hands from turning over and maintain the loft of the club.

2. Ensure you focus on a grain of sand and try not to take your eyes off it.

3. Continue accelerating throughout the shot and all the way to the follow through. Decelerating and quitting on the shot will likely cause you to hit it fat and not get it out of the sand.

4. Take several practice swings in the rough before you get into the bunker to get a feeling for fluid swing you intend to make.

5. Dig your feet into the sand to establish a solid base. This will bring you down even lower to help insure you don’t hit the ball first.