While playing from A greenside bunker is hardhitting a long bunker shot can be just as hard for many amateurs.
Many things often go through the head of a player standing in a bunker on the fairway. From figuring out which stick to use to worrying about how far they can fly from the sand, these shots can cause some serious anxiety.
But Parker McLachlin, also known as Chef short game, is here to calm your nerves, provide updated instructions, and help build your confidence every time you need to take a long bunker shot. Check out his tips below!
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A modern approach to taking a long shot from a bunker
It’s time to train your mind when it comes to playing long bunker shots, and McLachlin says the old way of thinking is to “take the face of the stick and line it up to hit further.” But I’m going to bust that myth.”
“The old way to play a long shot from the bunker was to take the top wedge and line up the face. The problem with face squaring is that the moment you move the face inward, the leading edge gets involved. Enabling the leading edge will cause a lot of digging (in the sand); we don’t want it.”
McLachlin goes on to describe what he usually sees when players hit the sand with the leading edge.
“It comes out really low, they pull the handle pretty hard and you can see it (the club) digging into the turf. It stays there for quite a long time and you never get the height you want and the ball usually doesn’t come out with a ton of spin.
The photo below shows this old approach.
Rethinking how to hit a bunker long shot
This is where McLachlin says players need to re-imagine the long shot from the bunker – and it starts with using a stick from a lower floor.
“We’re going to take the bottom wedge and leave it open for this long bunker shot,” he says. “I’m going to go down to the attic to 52 steps. When I get down to 52, I’ll still be open-faced. This will help engage the reflection (of the club).
“It helps keep my release the right way so I won’t drag the handle like I did with the square face.”
By keeping the club head open, McLachlin’s club cuts through the sand much better, coming out high with a bit of spin. That’s why he insists on using stick rebound on every long bunker shot.
“Enabling rebound is always the #1 priority when exiting a bunker; even if we have to hit a 30-meter bunker shot,” he adds. “Go down to the attic and still open your face.”
For more tips from the short game chef, see McLachlin’s website.