Two Ways to Play the Long Bunker Shot

The 50-60 yard bunker shot is one of the least practiced shots in golf. This is compounded by the fact that many golfers are unclear as to what the key principles of this particular shot are. Should it be played like a regular splash shot, or a shortened version of the fairway bunker shot?
It's this uncertainty that can often lead to bad results on the course.

The reality is there are two ways to play the shot. Here I demonstrate both. It's then up to you to figure out which one that best suits your game. You'll soon have a lot more conviction from this distance

November Wedge
For the first technique (illustrated above) I like to use a 52 or 56 degree wedge. But unlike a splash shot where my club would enter the sand behind the ball, the idea here is to clip ball and then sand, producing a penetrating ball flight with plenty of spin. To achieve this, I put the ball further back in my stance, just a few inches inside my trail
foot. I'm favouring my lead foot (left foot for a right-handed player) with about 70 per cent of my weight to encourage a steeper angle of attack. It's important to feel that your lower body stays quiet on the backswing, which will encourage a shorter, more compact postion at
the top. As you swing through the ball, stand tall into your left side and abbreviate your followthrough. This will help you achieve clean contact and a shot that spins and stops quickly as soon as it pitches on the green.

The alternative technique works best if you have reen to work with, because this shot will release rather than stop quickly. I've selected an 8-iron here. The best way to think of this shot is like an extended version of the greenside splash shot - but with a less lofted club to produce the extra distance required. At set-up, the ball position is
further forward in my stance (see above) and my weight distribution is equal across both feet. The clubface is laid open at address. With a shallower angle of attack, focus on entering the sand a couple of inches behind the ball. Accelerate through into a high followthrough, just as you would from a greenside trap. Once you have established which technique works best for you, have faith in your methods when you're out on the course.

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