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Hitting The Greenside Bunker Shot

Today I’m going to talk about hitting the greenside bunker shot, probably the shot that incites the most fear into golfers, especially when there’s water or another bunker on the other side of the green. So, to play this shot effectively, we don’t need to change your swing.

When hitting the greenside bunker shot, we don’t need to change your setup very much. We have to remember what we try to do in pitching versus hitting the greenside bunker shot we’re trying to strike the ground in the ball at the same time and accelerate. You’ve got to do the same two things here in the bunker shot; however, we’re trying to miss the golf ball completely and we’re trying to strike the ground first and no golf ball at all.

So, to properly show you the shot effectively all we’re going to do is we’re going to take our center and we’re going to move it to the right of the ball, three or four or five inches. Now, I say three, four, or five inches because that depends on how much force we’re going to exert.  The more force we exert, the more sand we have to take.

So, in theory, now with my center, three, four, or five inches to the right of the golf ball, the bottom of my swing should be right about here with this line on the right. And now from there, I’ve got to make a swing where I try to splash the sand out onto the green. If I don’t splash the sand out, the ball is not going to come out.

So, with hitting the greenside bunker shot it’s all about sand force at this point and where the club bottoms out in relation to the golf ball. So, as I get into this bunker shot, I don’t need to change much with my setup. I’d like to be pretty square unless I have a very tight flag. So again, my center is right here, three, about four inches behind the golf ball.

The key to hitting the greenside bunker shot is where the club bottoms out and the amount of sand that we take. And it’s all about accelerating through impact. At that point, it’s not quite a full swing, but somewhere in between my pitch swing and my full swing. But it is a lot of force to it.

Again, if you look at the swath of sand right where the club under the sand was at four or five inches behind the golf ball and the sand propelled the ball out. So, the club never actually touches a golf ball. Physically, with hitting the greenside bunker shot the sand gets in between, and then the sand propels the ball out.

About Bela Nagy

Bela Nagy is the Director of Golf at Sandridge Golf Club in Vero Beach, Florida. Bela is a member of the PGA of America since 1996 and a 1995 graduate of the Professional Golf Management Program at Mississippi State University. He was voted Top 50 Teachers in America by US Kids in 2005 & 2009 and in 2014 was named a Master US Kids Teacher. Bela was named the 1999, 2016 & 2018 Junior Golf Leader for the Southeast Chapter of the South Florida PGA. Bela was named the 2014 & 2019 Junior Golf Leader as well as the 2013, 2014, 2016 & 2017 Merchandiser of the Year for the South Florida Section of the PGA. He has been an instructor at Sandridge Golf Club for since 1995.

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