Ball Stuck In The Face Of The Bunker?

By John Green

You’ve just hit a great drive down the middle of the fairway which leaves you with a middle iron to the green. As you prepare to hit your approach, you are thinking you have a good chance of knocking it close. Unfortunately it is hit a little thin, which leaves you short of the green. There just so happens to be a gaping bunker in front of that green and now, the ball is stuck in the face of the bunker.

You now have found yourself in a “That’s Golf” situation (photo #1). Any hope for par from this predicament will be a miracle as you will not be able to get it close to the hole from this lie. Your only hope will be to get it out of the bunker in one swing.

To hit this shot, first get yourself set up in the bunker (photo #2). Play the ball toward your highest foot. (We learned that last month). It is okay to dig your right foot in to maintain your balance. This is not a violation of the rules as you are taking a reasonable stance to maintain your balance and not building a stance.

The actual shot itself is not difficult (photo #3). As you are swinging down, keep the hands ahead of the clubhead and try to drive that clubhead straight at the ball. The idea here is for you to think about driving the ball further into the bunker. I know that sounds crazy, but the force of the clubhead going into the ball and sand will pop the ball up in the air due to the loft of the wedge you are using. The result you see here is typical (if done correctly). When you find yourself in a situation like this, don’t get upset. Your focus is to minimize the number of strokes you will take from this predicament (bogey would be a good score).

For further help with this kind of shot, see your favorite PGA or LPGA Professional.

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