50-Yard Bunker Shots

By Contributing Writer

Bunker shots of any kind are liable to cause concern for many amateur golfers. However the 50-yard bunker shot is one that even the professionals call one of the hardest shots in golf. It requires a particular technique, different from that used for greenside explosion shots, but it can be mastered.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Step 1
Take the correct club for the shot. A sand wedge is designed for hitting high, soft shots from the sand, not for getting the extra distance required here. Select a pitching wedge or 9 iron to give you less loft, less spin and more forward release.
Step 2
Set up with your stance and clubface slightly open, but not as far open as you would for a short greenside explosion shot.
Step 3
Position the ball close to your left heel.
Step 4
Take a full swing along the line of your feet, hitting the sand about an inch behind the ball and continuing through to a full high finish.

Tips & Warnings

The main problem with this shot is getting enough distance from the sand. Trying to take the ball cleanly from the sand requires a very precise strike, particularly for less than a full shot, so taking the less lofted club and still aiming to hit the sand behind the ball is the better option. The club selection, combined with taking less sand than a greenside shot, will give you enough distance to reach the hole. Allow for more roll on the ball after it lands, as this shot will have less spin on it than a greenside bunker shot.
Be realistic about this shot. Depending on your lie in the sand, the height of the lip on the bunker and position of the pin, just getting the ball onto the green and accepting two putts may be a realistic goal.


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