3-Step Technique to Hit a Short Bunker Shot

3-Step Technique to Hit a Short Bunker Shot

The short bunker shot. Let me tell you how we teach this shot at our golf schools which is much different then you've likely heard. I'm going to show you what I've learned from Claude Harmon who was the greatest bunker teacher ever to play the game. I've also learned a lot from Ken Venturi. Now, this shot can be played with a variety of clubs, believe it or not, if you have the right technique.

Which Club Should You Use For a Short Bunker Shot?

You don’t need a 60 degree wedge or a 64 degree wedge. For example, Brad Faxon, someone I work with, uses a 56 degree sand wedge and nobody in the world is better at short bunker shots than Faxon. Of course you need the right technique. The ball is played forward, if you do use a 56 degree wedge you must open the face quite a bit more, so you turn the face open then place your hands on the club.

Don't make the mistake of keeping the club square and then just rolling the face open because that will give you a real strong grip, something we don't want to have. There are four basic thoughts:

How to Hit a Short Bunker Shot

  1. Open the face of your club
  2. Put the ball forward in your stance
  3. Use a fairly wide stance
  4. Stand quite a bit further away from the ball.

How to Hold the Club for a Bunker Shot

These steps will allow your hands to get lower, and again that's very important. I feel like I hit actually the heel of the golf club, right in the back here when I hit my short bunker shots, never out on the toe. So lay the club down this way, leave the face open, the balls played way forward. To compensate for this I put my weight a little bit more forward. Putting the weight more forward also allows me to get the club up, helps me to get the club up much more.

You can imagine if I must put my weight back that encourages a low take away. So quick, weight forward, ball forward, hands down low, you're going to hit the bottom of the golf club right here, get that club to elevate. The most important thing to control distance is the length of the finish, so we're going to stay very short. Short bunker shot, short finish. That's how you play the short bunker shot. Remember the shorter the shot, the shorter the finish.

About the Instructor
Jim  McLean
Jim  McLean
Jim McLean Golf School
Doral Golf Resort and Spa
4400 NW 87th Avenue
Miami, FL 33178
Tel: 800-72-DORAL

Jim McLean runs the Jim McLean Golf Schools, considered by some the world's finest. He is listed as one of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers and Golf Digest's #3 instructor in the world.


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