How to Hit a Bunker Shot in Golf

By Michael Joseph

golfer hitting into sunset
The green side bunker shot is probably the most intimidating shot for amateur golfers. Fears of leaving it in the sand or skulling it across the green creep into your mind before you even approach the bunker. With the right technique and a little practice the bunker shot will be no more scary than any other green side pitch.


Difficulty: Challenging
  1. Use your sand or lob wedge, preferably one with medium to high bounce. Low bounce wedges tend to dig into the sand too much.
  2. Stand a little closer to the ball then your normal setup. Position the ball in the middle of your stance. Aim to the left of your target (right-handed golfers). Open your stance.
  3. Shuffle your feet a little for traction. Do not dig in too much or you will change your plane and tend to hit 'fat' shots. Open your clubface so the face is pointed straight up. Shift your weight slightly towards your forward foot.
  4. Your typical swing arc looks like the letter 'U'. With a bunker shot your swing arc should be like the letter 'V'. Start your backswing with an immediate hinge of the wrists. Turn your shoulders and lift your arms straight-up. There is no weight shift during the backswing. Keep your lower body quiet during the swing.
  5. The downswing should follow the same steep path made on the backswing. Aim to splash through the sand 2 to 3 inches behind the ball. Accelerate through the ball and your club will glide under the sand. Complete your swing with a high follow through. The ball will come out high and soft.

Tips & Warnings

  • Adjust the distance you hit behind the shot for varying sand texture. If sand is wet the clubhead will need to enter the sand closer to the ball.

About the Author

Michael Joseph is a golf industry professional in New Jersey. He has worked as a golf professional, instructor, and clubmaker. Joseph's education includes a degree in golf operations management and a certification in club-fitting from The Golf Academy of America (formally the San Diego Golf Academy). Joseph shares his golf experience and knowledge with others by writing articles for Demand Media Studios and