Long bunker shots are amongst the hardest challenges our game can pose a player. Being able to get the distance right without thinning the ball over the back or dumping it into the face is hard and requires a different approach to the regular greenside splash shot technique. In this feature I’m going to explain the long bunker shot technique to offer you the safest way to keep your score in tact.
A good option is to take less club – I’m using my pitching wedge (48˚) here – and try to hit a low shot that runs towards the flag. Obviously by having less loft in my hands the flight will come down naturally but I also need to make some other changes too.
The ball position is normal, in line with my left heel and I’m setting my weight on my left side at address. Importantly, the face should be pointed directly at the target and I am not looking to open the face here to add loft to the shot as I would for a normal splash shot.
The key to the swing itself lies in the wrist hinge. By reducing this as much as I can I will be shallowing out the angle of attack into the ball. Through impact concentrate on driving the sand and ball out and onto the green together. Just like a normal bunker shot I am aiming to strike the sand about an inch before the ball.
The results will be quite different to a usual bunker shot – you’ll get a lower flight and not hint of spin as the ball rolls out towards the pin. If you want loft and spin on your bunker shots you’ll need a different technique.
There are a host of things that can go wrong with this shot but I find this long bunker shot technique takes most of those out of the equation. It is a simple, repeatable action but it will require a fair amount of practice.