Hazards, such as bunkers are on the golf course to cause us problems. Whether the bunkers are on the fairway or near the green, they must always be avoided to achieve a low score. However, for amateur players, it’s the bunkers closest to the green which cause the most problems.
You do not need to be in a greenside bunker for it to become troublesome. In fact, sometimes it can be more difficult to find your ball just the other side of the bunker, leaving you with a shot over the sand to reach the green.
The tendency here is to become afraid of hitting the ball into the bunker and putting too much power into the shot, sending it across the green and over the other side. However, today we have some great tips which will help you when pitching over a bunker and we recommend using a lob wedge for each shot.
When playing a pitch over a bunker to the green, you must firstly asses the lie of your ball. The lie of the ball has a huge impact on the shot you can play. If there is no space under the ball this is a bad lie, as there is no room for the club to slide underneath.
In this situation, it is very difficult to play a high shot and if you attempt to, you will probably see your ball travel over the other side of the green. Instead, try and play this shot more like a chip shot and attempt to land the ball just the other side of the bunker, on the front edge of the green.
You must play this shot with more weight on the front foot and this will help to take the bounce off the club. Therefore, you will not need to hit as far under the ball and the flight will be lower, meaning the ball will run on further having landed the other side of the bunker.
So, you must land the ball closer to the bunker and allow it to roll on to the green and as close to the flag as reasonably possible. Assess how hard you need to swing and keep a solid rhythm throughout the shot.
If you reach your ball to find you have a nice lie and there is enough room to slide the club under it, you have a wider choice of shots to play.
If the flag is close to the edge of the bunker, you will need to play a higher shot to stop the ball quickly when it lands on the green. To play the high shot, your body and especially shoulders, must to be more open to the target, aiming left, with the club face open towards the sky.
The allows the club to slide under the ball and produce the loft required to completely take the bunker out of play. You must use a longer backswing and the wrists, with the legs bent slightly to get fully under the ball. Do not be afraid to complete a longer follow through on this shot.
The second option with a good lie is to play a lower shot, which is useful when the flag is further away from the bunker. This shot is easier to play than the high shot.
For this shot, your shoulders are squarer to the target, with weight slightly on the front foot. Both the wrist swing and the follow through is shorter than the higher shot and this will promote a lower ball flight, which will pitch and roll further on the ground.
Practice these shots and familiarise yourself with the different elements of each, so you are ready for when the situation arises on the golf course.