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Long Bunker Shots

Arguably one of the hardest shots in golf but where does it all go wrong for so many golfers?

Club selection

I find this probably the biggest mistake I see throughout most club level golfers. We are all tricked into using our sand wedge due to its name but is it the best choice? When we favour our more lofted wedges we have to make alterations such as increased clubhead speed, try and strike the ball cleaner and a change in tempo. All of these factors are increasing the chances of it going wrong.

When we tend to increase our clubhead speed or tempo we generally start to encourage a lot more body movement and our foundation can become unstable which could result in the leading edge digging into the sand or not taking any at all, resulting in overall poor contact.

I would often recommend trying something with a little less loft such as a PW or 9 iron and play it as you would a shorter greenside bunker. This will allow you to maintain a smooth tempo, maintain simailar interaction with the sand and prevent you from trying to change too many factors. Make sure you take into account the height of the bunker lip.

Don’t be too aggressive

If you are not very confident with a longer bunker shot, the last thing you want to do be doing is taking a tight flag on or trying to carry a closer greenside bunker. Take a line where if you do catch it a little heavy you have an easier shot for your next shot. Try not to compound the error. With a lower lofted club, it will also run out more up the green when it lands, so allow for this in your plan.

Changes in set up

If you opt for using a less lofted club, then you may just want to make a small alteration to your set up. When you open a straighter faced club, you may find the ball starts a little further right than your intended line so just allows a little for this. I would recommend aiming at 11 o’clock as opposed to the target at 12. If you prefer to not stand open, try lowering the hands as this will help counteract the open face due to change in lie angle.


It’s generally a shot that we never really practice which can cause us to go into shock a little when we experience it as we don`t really have a plan, we haven’t got much experience and the only experience we have brings back some bad memories. So the biggest tip I can give is get out on that short game area and experiment. Taking 3 to get down from out of the bunker is never going to see you drop many shots to the rest of the field, but remember just because its in the sand doesn’t mean you must use a Sand Iron!

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