Club Choice for Greenside Bunker Shots in Golf
Most golfers, when they find their ball in a greenside bunker, simply reach for their sand wedge and head into the bunker to hit the shot. While the sand wedge might be the right club for the job, it is not always the smart choice depending on the lie and other factors. Rather than just automatically using the same club each time, think a little more carefully about your club choice and make sure you are using the right one for the shot at hand.
When the Sand Wedge is Right
Of course, there are plenty of times when the sand wedge is the right club for your greenside bunker shot. When you don’t have to cover a very long distance, and have plenty of soft sand beneath the ball, you should be able to use the sand wedge with great success. In this case, you can focus on sliding the wedge under the ball and letting the sand push the ball up out of the bunker and onto the green. This is basically a ‘standard’ bunker shot, and should almost always be played with a sand wedge.
Watch for Hard Sand
If you walk down into the bunker and notice that the sand is hard-packed rather than soft and fluffy, you will want to consider using a different club. Going down to a gap wedge, or even a pitching wedge, when the sand is firmer should make it a little easier to get the ball up and out of the bunker. Making this change will not allow you to get as much loft on the shot as with your sand wedge, but will help you deal with the hard-packed sand conditions.
Longer Shot Across the Green
When you are in a greenside bunker, but the hole is located all the way across the green, you also might want to consider using a less-lofted club to cover the full distance. Regular bunker shots hit with a sand wedge are challenging to hit longer distances, so there is a good chance you will come up short. Instead, using a pitching wedge or gap wedge, make your normal greenside bunker swing and rely on the lower loft to move the ball further across the green. As with anything else on the golf course, proper practice is necessary to become comfortable with using different clubs from a greenside bunker, so be sure to put in your practice time before taking it onto the course.