Greenside Bunker Shots – 2 Part Tip

By | on February 8, 2013 | 32 Comments | Array


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Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

32 Responses to “Greenside Bunker Shots – 2 Part Tip”

  1. Paul: This means that the leading edge of the SW is aiming right at the target, but is open at impact because the swing plane out to in when you have the open stance? Thanks

    • August 5, 2012

      Paul Wilson

      The face is open to the path because the club is swinging left of the target. This is typical for most bunker shots. Your plane is not out to in. It is your normal golf swing but the club swings left because you are aimed left. The ball is only going right because the face is open. You are not changing your golf swing.

  2. September 7, 2012


    Paul, one of the better explanations I’ve seen. At one point you talk about aiming based upon the hours of the clock and then later you talk about aiming x feet to the left. Would I be correct in assuming that if you open the club face to 2 o’clock that your ball flight will be towards 2 o’clock, but you would aim to somewhere between 10 and 11 o’clock just to keep things in the same metaphor?

    • September 11, 2012

      Paul Wilson

      Glad you liked the tip. Thanks.

      Yes, you are aiming the body left to compensate for the face being open. So hit some shots and watch your ball. Most people don’t hold the face open enough as they hit the ball. So they aim left and the ball goes left. Go to make sure you are not rolling the wrists more than normal plus you have to make sure the face is open the right amount. Using the lines in the sand is a good way to do it.

  3. December 18, 2012


    This is an area of my game where I have a lot of trouble but practising what you teach us in this tip will make my golf life easier. In few words you are suggesting to change the 0,0 point in a coordinates system, this is digging the feet compensates twisting the swing to hit the sand underneath the ball and moving the ball forward compensate hitting the sand 2 or 3 inches behind. At the end of the day, we just need to use our normal swing without any “special” tricks or movements.

    My question is now about the wedge to use. Most of the cases I’ve been said to use 56 deg. but some people stands to use less or more loft depending of the circumstances. Please could you tell us about this? Thanks.

    • December 18, 2012

      Paul Wilson


      You can use whatever club you are comfortable with. I only use a 56. I just open the face more or less depending on what shot I am trying to hit. You can use a lob wedge if you wish. You are not really using less loft than on a sand wedge unless you are doing a full swing trying to hit a fairway bunker shot.

      So experiment and try a lob wedge if you want. Some people really like hitting it from bunkers. I did not grow up with a lob wedge so I don’t like hitting one.

      The face is open so it slides under the ball and skims the top layer of sand. It should still be open as the ball leaves the face. If the face is open you must aim left to compensate for it. If you aim your body left and the ball goes left you are not keeping the face open through impact you are rolling your wrists too much so you need to keep the face open.

  4. February 6, 2013


    Hi Paul!
    I tried to look at this video today but it will not work 🙁 It

    • February 6, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      I get some people telling me this. A lot of the videos are on the Amazon Cloud server so they should be running perfectly. If you are a great distance from their nearest server it may take a while to watch it. I will check in to it.

  5. February 9, 2013


    I am a true believer! My second shot on a par 5 landed directly behind a tree 100 yards out. Instead of trying to go over the tree (I couldn’t), I purposely shot towards the bunker to the front left of the hole. My partners thought I was crazy. I used your technique and my 4th shot came out of the sand perfectly for a short par putt. There is no better way to get out of a bunker than the Paul Wilson method.

    • February 10, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      I love hearing stories like this. Bunker shots are so simple. Keep on doing it.

  6. February 9, 2013


    My courses have about 1″ of contruction sand over hardpan.A lot of times my Sw BOUNCES off the hardpan and Skulls the ball low into the face OR over the Green.Any Suggestions?

    • February 10, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      I will do a tip on this in the future. For now:

      Square up the face. Aim square. Do not grip down unless you cannot dig your feet in. Feel like you are picking it up more vertical going back. Turn through it as I suggest and feel the club descending. This should pop it out.

  7. February 9, 2013


    Help, I like this technique but when I try it I launch the ball out of the bunker and well beyond the desired landing area. Not sure what I am doing that is causing that. Need some ideas on what not to do here.

    • February 10, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      This would be like hitting a thin or topped shot on the grass. What would cause this shot? You are coming out of it too soon and/or buckling arms. So keep the arms relaxed, swing easier and stay focused on the ball until you have hit the ball (once hit then look). This will keep the spine angle and allow the arms to stretch out fully so the club is not coming up.

  8. February 9, 2013


    Is the belt buckle line parallel to the left swing line so your belt buckle ends up pointing the 8-10 feet left of the target?

  9. February 10, 2013


    Any advice for deep green side bunkers with a lip? Where you can barely see the green from inside.

    • February 10, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      You need to open the face more. If the face is open more you need to turn your hips a little faster to generate more power. This way the ball goes up and out not just up. It tricky so do lots of practice.

  10. February 12, 2013


    Paul, any adjustment for firm sand?


    • February 12, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      I think I answered this the other day.

      Hitting from firm sand depends on how firm the sand is. If you cannot dig in at all you then have to pick it off the surface (this is very ticky and takes a lot of practice). If you can dig in a little then do so. Have the face square and aim square. This will allow the club to dig in. If the face is open it will skip off the surface causing you to hit it thin.

  11. February 24, 2013


    Fine lesson :this is what I call “the orthodox method “of getting out of a sand trap .Should add you must keep most of your weight on the left Foot ,because you tend to pull your weight back when you get in your backswing .Also ,enough Clubhead speed is critical because the sand slows down quickly the clubhead ,so a “generous ” backswing to the very top is necessary

    • February 24, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      Glad you liked it. Yes, you need to hinge the club for power. I see people do a backswing that is too long. This causes hitting with the arms which tightens everything up and slows the club down. Hinge and turn to get the power. It is simple.

  12. The bunkers are very steep at my home club at Asquith. Do you have some tips for very steep faced bunkers?


  13. March 23, 2017


    Lately I am really struggling with my sand shots..I am trying to follow your method. Biggest problem is my wedge going under the ball leaving the ball in the trap. Switched back from 60 degree wedge to 56 with the same result. Condition of sand traps are not good. Not sure what I am doing wrong

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      March 24, 2017

      Paul Wilson


      Great to hear from you. I did a tip on this here:

      Stop Leaving the Ball In the Bunker:

      Sounds like you have too much weight on the back foot at impact. Remember … I need you to touch your legs and touch your head. This will allow you to generate enough speed to allow the club to cut through the sand and onto the green. Give it a try.

  14. Nice explanation regarding club and body position but where you position your ball in the bunkers shoots

  15. September 2, 2017


    Paul, how do you control the distance? With the length of the swing or does it have to do more with how much the face is open?

  16. What do you think about the technique of taking a square stance/square club face to the target, opening the club to 2 o’clock, then moving your stance open until the leading edge of the open wedge is pointing back on the original target line to the hole? I think you end up in the same setup as the visualization of the two lines drawn in the sand, but I’d like to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

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