Scoop your way out of difficulties in the bunker

Picture 1
Picture 1

When you are faced with a difficult shot over a bunker, to a very tight pin position, are you worried, anxious, or confident?

If the answer is one of the first two, relax and read on to find a slightly different way to deal with it.

Picture 2

Picture 2

Take a look at the first picture. I am set up to play over the large bunker directly in front of me. Using my 60 degree lob wedge, the ball is positioned opposite my left heel, with my weight set 60-40 on my left side. I am also making sure that my hands/clubhead are nicely in line to ensure that the bounce can come into play correctly.

Too many players push their hands forward towards the target. This delofts the club, and causes the leading edge to dig into the turf. It is also worth mentioning that during my backswing my weight will still remain set on my left side, no need to move it onto my right side. I will think in terms of making an 8-4 swing in clockface speak, with my “hands” reaching those points.

Now have a look at the second picture. You can see the ball climbing up to clear the high bunker face. Some of you eagle eyed readers will note that my right hand appears to have “scooped” at the point of impact, to help the ball into the air. Yes it has deliberately scooped under, to add more loft and produce the flop shot required in this situation. This is perfectly okay and will work well as long as you keep your body turning through towards the target.

Note how my knees, hips, chest and even head are all unwinding to face directly towards my target. Scooping is not good when the body stops turning, as the leading edge will rise up, causing the ball to be thinned miles over the green. So as long as you keep your body moving properly through the impact zone, you can scoop away to your hearts content.

Naturally it requires a degree of practice, before trying it out in the next medal. When you are more proficient at this shot, you can try to hit the ground slightly before the ball. This will allow the bounce to work and produce an even higher ball flight. I often refer to this as a “grass bunker shot” and try to play it as if it was in the sand, focusing on a spot roughly two inches before the ball.