How to Hit Golf Pitch Shots Over Bunkers

How to Hit Golf Pitch Shots Over Bunkers

How the Bunker Shot and Pitch Over the Bunker Shot are Similar

Here is a wonderful situation that many students have questions about: the pitch over the bunker and the bunker shot. It is the same exact swing, what is different is that you are hitting it out of the grass instead of the sand. Let me explain the similarities to you.

  • First we are going to take the same golf grip you take outside the bunker as inside the bunker.
  • The stance is going to be square to your intended target line, you are not going to be open or closed or anything like that, you are just going to be nice and square to it. Your swing is going to have a circular shape to it, that is why I have this hula hoop on the ground, so we will see that the swing comes up a little bit and then around and around on both sides of the golf swing.
  • You do not have to do anything like go up and down or try to lift a ball up or try to sharpen the angles of your swing, it is the same swing motion.

Bounce of the Club on Bunker and Pitch Shots

Here is the key element that is going to make it magical for you. It is the bounce of the club. Let me explain what the bounce means so that you can get a clear concept of it and then we are going to talk about how to apply it to the ball properly. When we hold the club in the air in the same manner that it would lie to the ground, and I am going to bring up a horizontal club shaft to represent the ground, I want you to notice that the back end of the sole of the club is resting on the club shaft and the leading edge is above it. That angle from the rear edge to the leading edge forms the degrees of bounce.

When the club comes into the turf or into the sand we want to actually deliver the bounce of the club first instead of the leading edge. When the club comes in with the leading edge first it is a digging position, you are going to make a huge divot and usually lay the sod over the ball or in the bunker the club is going to dig in to much and not enough energy is going to transfer to the ball. Here is what it is going to look like as the club comes through the turf or the sand. We want to have the club coming through and applying the bounce and then out.

Transfer a Great Golf Swing from One Shot to Another

Let's take a look at it with a shot. We will hit the pitch first and you will notice that the club shaft and the hula hoop are just about at the same angle. It is really kind of our swing plane. Taking a nice square set up and I am going to swing the club around me. Ball went right up to the flagstick. Here is another opportunity at it. When we walk in the bunker you are going to see the same swing, the only thing that is different is the length of the swing because I do not have any sand here, in the bunker I have to displace the sand a little bit. Same stance, same posture, same swing, ball got out. Don’t make it so complicated. Use your same great golf swing and just transfer it to different shots. It will make the short game a heck of a lot easier for you.

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

Laird Small is Director of The Pebble Beach Golf Academy and is listed as one of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers and Golf Digest's #23 instructor in the world.


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