How to Choose the Right Club to Hit a Long Bunker Shot Over Sand

By Laird Small

I have a long bunker shot over here. Now the total of the shot is about 40 yards, but what makes this shot so difficult is that I have to carry so much sand before I get to the green's surface. Now most players would go for their sand wedge, but the farthest bunker shot you should attempt with your sand wedge is one third your total distance outside of the bunker.

The Right Club to Hit a Long Bunker Shot

So if you hit your sand wedge 60 yards then 20 yards is the most that you should hit it in the bunker and if you do that you are not getting the ball out of this bunker. Here is a different possibility for you to consider: use a different golf club but the same technique. What I am going to use here is an 8-iron instead of my sand wedge and here is why it is so important that it is different.

When we look at the clubs here we have a significant difference in the loft value of the golf club. What is going to happen is the loft of the 8-iron is going to send the ball much lower and farther out than the sand wedge which has a lot more loft to it, or that is to say the face of the club is leaning back significantly more, this is going to go a lot higher and just not going to go as far.

The other thing is that the 8-iron is a much longer golf club, so I have more leverage, which allows me to create more speed. Now I am going to use the same technique that I would with my sand wedge and I am going to use it with my 8-iron. So let me show you what it would look like with some rehearsal swings in front of you so you can see how to do this. If you do this in your regular round of golf you will have a slight penalty of two shots for testing the surface of the sand, here is what we are going to do.

How to Adjust Your Grip for a Long Bunker Shot

Take your regular grip, I am going to open the clubface just a few degrees, so I can use the bounce of the club, the rounded edge at the bottom so the club won't dig so much. My weight is going to be on to my forward leg and I am going to make the same type of bunker swing that I would make with my sand wedge. Same type of swing.

I am not going to hit the ball I am going to hit the sand, and the percussion of that strike is going to knock the ball out. Let me show you what it is going to look like with a shot. Take my same address. Weight is going to be on to my forward leg. Ball came out, I got pretty lucky that it hit the flagstick, but you notice that the ball came out low and had a chance to run a little bit so I don't have to fly it all the way there and I can take advantage of the ball rolling up to the flagstick.

That ball easily covered this entire length of sand without me worry about it. So try a different lofted golf club when you have a lot of sand to carry or even a long bunker shot. I think you will find it a lot easier to do, your level of execution will be significantly higher, and hopefully you will save some strokes.

Category: Bunker Play
Sub Categories: Club Selection

About the Instructor

Laird Small
Laird Small
Pebble Beach Golf Academy
1700 17-Mile Drive
Pebble Beach, CA 93953
Tel: 831-622-8650