Helpful Hints On How To Deal With Side-Hill Bunker Shots

Playing from The Beach

Bunker shots in golf are difficult enough as they are even with a perfect lie in a flat bunker. Tweak these variables and put the ball on a side-hill lie and the shot will be even more difficult. Two things in golf are inevitable: you will often get uneven lies (on the fairways and in the bunkers) and your ball will find the sand sometimes. So rather than burring our heads in the sand traps, lets prepare you for the inevitable challenges you will face when you find your ball on a side-hill lie in a bunker.

The two lies

There are two types of side-hill bunker shots: the ball below your feet and the ball above your feet. Most of the adjustments you need to make come in your set up before you even begin swinging the club.

  1. Ball below your feet
  2. The first thing to do is hold the club at the end of the grip. Move your grip towards the butt of the handle. This has the effect of making the club longer so you can reach the ball that is below the level of your feet. When you swing, it is important to "stay with the shot", meaning you must avoid the tendency to stand up out of the shot. Also, you need to aim a bit left of the flag because the ball will tend to come out right and spin even further right upon landing.

  3. Ball above your feet
  4. Do the opposite of the tips described in number 1. "Choke down" on the club to make it shorter. With your feet below the level of the ball, you need to try to take less sand and pick the ball out. In terms of aim, the ball will want to come out left so you need to aim right of the flag. Also, the ball will tend to come out with over spin and run further when it hits the green so aim to land the ball short of the flag so it can run up to the hole.

Fairway Bunkers

You must make the same changes to your set up and swing whether you are in a greenside bunker trying to get it close to the flag or in a fairway bunker trying to advance the ball as far as possible down the fairway.

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