19Sep, 2012

Spin Your Bunker Shots

There are two questions I get asked regularly when I am giving a bunker lesson. The first is “how do I get the ball out of the bunker and on the green consistently?”, and the second is “how do I get spin on my bunker shots?” These two questions are very closely related. If you can spin the ball out of a bunker then you can control the flight and distance of the shot which allows you to get the ball on the green consistently. So how do you put backspin on the ball coming out of a bunker?

Set Up

  • Stand with your feet fairly close together and slightly open to your target line
  • Shuffle the feet into the sand to give you stability while swinging the club
  • Rotate the clubface so that it is slightly open to the target line and then take your grip. This will increase the effective loft on the club through impact and encourage the sole of the club to strike the sand before the leading edge. This will cause the club to skid across the sand rather than dig in.
  • The ball should be positioned level with your lead heel.
  • Weight should be set 60% on the lead foot with the center of your chest level with the ball.

 The Swing

  • The club is swung along the line of the shoulders
  • The wrists hinge the club up in the backswing while the lead arm stays extended to maintain width in the swing
  • The arms swing past the ball before the club head. Too many players throw the club head to the ball causing the all too familiar heavy and thin shots.
  • The follow through is high with both arms and club head


This is the crucial part if the bunker shot. The club enters the sand before getting to the ball, but the main objective is to take the sand from the target side of the ball and swing through so as to get that piece of sand onto the green. This will ensure you swing through the shot and finish with a high follow through. The momentum of this swing will carry the ball onto the green.

Now if you want to increase the amount of spin on your bunker shots there are a couple of things you need to do.

1. Increase loft – by either changing to a more lofted club or if you already have your most lofted club, then spin the shaft to open the club face more at address to increase the loft.

2. Increase speed – the faster the club is moving through impact the more spin you can put on the ball.

3. Less sand – too much sand between the club face and the ball will decrease the amount of spin on your shot. You want to take a small, shallow divot, rather than what I see too often which is more of a digging action. Let the trail edge of the wedge (the bounce) hit the sand first so that the club skids across the sand.

A great drill to help you achieve these three elements is to draw a line in the sand from just inside your left heel out to slightly behind where the ball would be positioned. Now take practice swings taking shallow divots, only hitting the sand on the target side of the line and throwing that sand up onto the green. Once you can do this with some consistency, then introduce a ball and place it on the target side of the line and repeat the drill. If you are set up correctly the ball will start to come out higher and with more spin.

Line drill in a bunker

I hope you enjoyed this post on how to spin your bunker shots. As always comments are welcome and appreciated.

Good Golfing


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  1. Nick Christie says:

    Great information on bunker shots, keep up the good work.

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