Playing a downhill bunker shot

I have been generally lucky with bunkers.. usually end up on a flat lie or uphill as the ball tries to escape the bunker. However today my ball just trickled into the greenside bunker and stayed in a downhill position. I had enough place to have both feet in the bunker but no clue which way to play it. I hit a Sand Wedge, but only managed to move the ball further in the bunker into a better lie. Got out from there, but it was another drop shot due to the bunker. So I asked the Golf Monthly forum members for advice… as always The_Coach responded.


In many ways, the downhill bunker shot is one of the most difficult shots in golf. assuming you’re clear of the lip enough either back of or front of bunker. but it’s a ways easier than most folks think assuming the set-up is good.

You need a wide base, good stance width as the weight will be on the lead leg & you need to maintain balance. ball position will be someways around just front of center, or center if slope steep but not off the front heel as then you’ll never get the club head forwards under the ball you”l hit to far back of it.

  • It is important throughout that the knee flex is kept constant so you keep the vertical head height – so no up & down during the motion. solid base with the width so no sway back off the ball.
  • Spine angle needs to be perpendicular (90º) to the slope, shoulder/hip plane angles have to mirror the angle of the slope & have to stay on the slope angle through the shot – no leaning back trying to help the ball up, or no steep swing into the sand.
  • Need to use most lofted wedge as the slope naturally takes loft off the shot
  • Full body turn as with all bunker shots (can’t just be hands & arm swing)
  • Easier if there’s an early wrist set with the turn back, then keeping constant height enter sand couple inches back of the ball – key though is to swing the club through the sand down the slope.
  • Need to trust the set up, swing down with the slope, not downwards heavily into the sand. still needs a shallow ‘$ bill’ size divot of sand to take the ball out.

The following was provided by ‘Foxholer’ and is interesting..

If you don’t fall asleep during this vid, there’s some good stuff here!
The bunker used is not incredubly challenging like some can be, so the ‘take the punishment’ of playing sideways or backwards can be true too!


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