Beginners in golf often dedicate significant time honing their skills with woods and irons on the range, a common starting point due to accessibility. 

However, this focus often sidelines the crucial aspect of the short game, particularly bunker play, which needs to be addressed. In any typical round, encountering several bunker shots is inevitable. 

Mastering how to hit out of the bunker is pivotal for effective scrambling and avoiding higher scores. This article delves into the fundamentals of bunker play, whether navigating a fairway bunker or addressing a greenside challenge, offering essential insights to bolster your short-game proficiency.

How to Hit Out Of The Bunker?

How to Hit Out Of The Bunker?

Step 1: Choose the Right Club

When short-sided in a greenside bunker, use a high-lofted wedge, like a 60-degree lob wedge, to keep the ball from rolling out too far. If you have more green, opt for a lower lofted wedge, such as a 56-degree sand wedge or a 52-degree gap wedge, to achieve a more extended ball flight. Remember, the “sand wedge” isn’t your only option for greenside bunkers.

Step 2: Take the Right Setup

Proper setup is crucial for effective bunker shots. Twist your feet into the sand to establish a stable base and feel the sand’s depth. Position the ball off your front foot for most shots. Moving the ball back lowers the trajectory and increases rollout, but generally, keep it forward. Open your stance and the clubface for a higher, softer flight. Distribute about 80% of your weight on your front foot to create a steep descent, causing the splash and backspin needed for a good shot.

Step 3: Execute the Swing

With the proper setup, use an outside-in swing path and a slight wrist hinge at the top. Adjust your backswing length based on the desired distance. This swing path helps the ball come out high and soft with maximum control. Practice until this feels natural and you can judge distances accurately.

Step 4: Follow Through

Follow through and stay down longer on sand shots to avoid chunking. A steep swing and high follow-through ensure the ball splashes out of the sand. Feel free to take a more significant swing since you’re hitting the sand with the ball, reducing its distance.

Advanced Techniques

Advanced Techniques

Medium-Length Bunker Shots (20-25 Yards)

Longer bunker shots can be challenging but manageable with the right approach. Use a pitching wedge or low iron instead of a sand wedge. It is set up like a greenside bunker shot, aiming to hit an inch behind the ball to create a splash. If you need extra distance, square the clubface for a lower trajectory and more extended flight.

Plugged Ball (Fried Egg)

For a plugged lie, focus on digging. With no lip to clear, shut the face on a high-lofted wedge and take a big, steep swing. If there’s a lip, keep the face open but dig deeper to avoid blading. The ball will roll out more than usual, so pick your landing zone accordingly.

Key Takeaways

  • Setup: wide stance, weight forward, open clubface.
  • Swing: outside-in path, wrist hinge, follow through.
  • Adjust club choice and technique based on distance and lie.

Like the pros, you’ll handle bunker shots confidently and precisely by mastering these techniques.


Mastering how to hit out of the bunker, whether from a standard lie or a buried lie, becomes manageable with a solid grasp of the fundamental technique.

Many amateurs and beginners can execute competent bunker shots with minimal practice, as hitting behind the ball often comes naturally. The true skill lies in striking the sand precisely the correct distance behind the ball to achieve desired outcomes.

However, if you’re seeking comprehensive guidance beyond essential bunker tips on how to hit out of the bunker, I have something special for you. Discover how to transform your physique over six weeks, enhancing every facet of your game, including proficiency in bunker play.

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