Long bunker shots are some of the game’s toughest to execute. Here’s how to attack them

woman hitting long bunker shot

Follow these keys for success on long bunker shots.

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Bunker shots are hard enough, but add a little distance between them and the green and they can seem impossible.

Why? That in-betweener distance can throw you for a loop. Fairway bunkers demand a certain technique, greenside bunkers too, but mid-length shots can be extra-confounding. What’s a player to do?

At this year’s Top 100 Teacher Retreat in Scottsdale, Ariz., Top 100 Teacher Sarah Stone shared some keys to focus on.

“Take an 8-iron, and set up just like you would with a shot that you would hit from that distance off of grass, but expect it to go a little shorter,” Stone said. “Use whatever stroke that you would use from whatever the yardage is. Let’s say it’s 50 yards. So whether it’s like a half swing or a three-quarter swing, use a lower-lofted club and try to focus on hitting ball first.”

GOLF Top 100 Teacher Kellie Stenzel provides her 10 ways for becoming an expert at long bunker shots, giving you more chances to shoot low
10 ways to become great at long bunker shots
By: Kellie Stenzel, Top 100 Teacher

While many players might think this particular shot calls for changes to your setup, Stone said that’s not the case.

“Set up the same as you normally would,” she said, “and try to use a bit more of an arm swing, not a lot of body.”

A common miss with a long-ish bunker shot is to catch it fat. Stone has a way to avoid this:

“Look to the left of the ball, and set your weight in your left heel,” she said. “I wouldn’t lean left, but I would push a bit left and move the ball slightly forward too.”

Ultimately, Stone says the best way to master this distance is to practice so you can learn what works best for you. But one thing’s for sure: leave those lofted wedges in the bag!

To read more tips from Stone, click here.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2024? Find a fitting location near you at True Spec Golf.

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.

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