Pitching Over a Bunker No Problem

By | on April 22, 2016 | 40 Comments |


Sorry, this content is for members only.

Click here to get access.


Already a member? Login below

Remember me (for 2 weeks)

Forgot Password


Author Description

Avatar photo

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+

40 Responses to “Pitching Over a Bunker No Problem”

  1. ok. point the club at the target, point it at the ground, whats the third position and how many yards for a 56 degree club is that for? looking forward to a third video in this series! this stuff works perfect! i hit my 56 degree about 60 yards with a full swing which i guess is really a 3/4 swing!as i have a limited turning capacity ( big belly!)

    • Doug,

      Point the club away from the target. You need to find your own yardage. Mine is 70, 80 and 90. Yours will be 50 and 60.

  2. Hi Paul,

    Just a note to thank you again. Your tips are so simple that I laugh out loud. For the first time in my golfing life (50 years) I have (or will have) an idea as to what to do in every situation. For so long it has strictly been (somewhat unsuccessful) guesswork. I feel that you are taking the weight of the golf world off of my shoulders.

    I do have one question – how does one determine the desired bounce on one’s wedges? Clubs with a lot of bounce tend to scare me.


    • Len,

      I used to dissect every morsel of the golf swing. I would think in very technical terms. I would try 5 things at least for every shot I hit. You know where it got me? Nowhere. The day I made it simple a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders too. It feels so good to play like this. Golf is fun when you do this. Keep it simple and actually accomplish something in stead of spinning your wheels.

      Fluffy sand = more bounce so the club doesn’t dig in too deep. If you do not have these bunkers use less bounce.

  3. December 9, 2013



    Will your pitching technique produce back spin on the ball when it lands on the green or will it always bounce on?

    Kind regards,

    • December 9, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      The right fundamentals and conditions produce backspin. Below is what I usually tell people:

      To get backspin there are many factors. Here they are:

      1. Correct swing fundamentals.

      2. Angle of attack

      3. Clean grooves.

      4. No grass or other material between the ball and grooves.

      5. Soft fast greens.

      6. Green sloped towards you.

      7. Proper loft on club.

      8. Fast enough swing speed.

      9. Into the wind.

      etc. etc.

      So keep working on the proper fundamentals and have the right equipment and conditions and you will get backspin.

  4. March 12, 2014


    Hey Paul,

    Just to be real clear, after you hinge going back, you let your wrists gently roll over as you turn through. When I hit good pitches, I feel the same wrist action as on a full swing, just much slower, of course.

    Right track?

    • March 13, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      I am not even thinking wrists in the downswing other than not trying to hit or help my shot in any way with my hands and arms.

      If your arms are truly powerless the mass of the club would stretch your arms out fully. If they stretch out the club has to be releasing.

      Just let it go. At your level you do not need to be manually rolling it over. I would be trying to smoothen it out and make sure there is no resistance or wanting to hit anything. If you do, the clubhead will feel very heavy as you swing it. Once you feel the clubhead you can determine if you are helping it.

  5. What is the max distance you would hit a pitch shot. I try to hit this shot from 110 yards with a 9 iron, 100 yards with a pitching wedge and so on. I am looking for the highest present age shot from 110 on in.

    • Keith,

      I hit a full pitch shot 90 -100 yards. No more. If I need to go more I use a Gap Wedge. If you hit your 9 iron 110 that is the only time you hit a 9 iron and so on. Once you get to around 40-60 yards you will be doing an abbreviated swing with your Sand or Lob wedge.

  6. Thanks Paul, just to be clear, would you say a pitch shot from 100 yards will have a better chance than a full shot to get close to the pin? I use a pitching wedge for the pitch shot and a 54 for a full shot at that distance. For me my pitch shot is more reliable at this point. Thanks for your pitching lessons I am getting better at it.

    • Keith,

      Your 100 yard pitch shot would be a full swing. Mine certainly is. You would only be abbreviating your backswing from about 60 yards and in. Any other swing is a full swing varying the rotational speed of your body. You should only hit a pitching wedge and up doing 1 swing at 1 speed (you normal swing speed). I will have to do a tip on this. It’s on the list.

  7. So you are using the sand wedge for these shots? (up to 100 yds)

    • Kenneth,

      This tip was about pitching over a bunker. Typically people dump these shots in the bunker. I hit my full Sand Wedge 90 yards. If you do too then use it up to that distance.

  8. September 2, 2014



    Love all your videos. For pitching and wedge shots, I use Dave Pelz’s method (50 deg, 56 deg, 60 deg, and 64 deg wedges at 7:30, 9:00 and 10:30 clock faces) with good success. How is your method different from Dave’s?

    • September 2, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      Mine stops you from guessing and you don’t have to practice it that much.

  9. I have always had a competent short game. Recently I got hold of a copy of the video from a golf teaching professional from Stamford University which explains the use of bounce of a club. He even demonstrated using a 3 iron to pitch off bare lies. Incorporating his idea and your technic have made it even simpler.

    • Albert,

      Very good. This is a huge part of the game. Not only does this save shots when you make mistakes it also takes pressure off of your long game.

  10. Paul,A common occurrence is to find YOUR ball lying deep in thick High rough close and behind A greenside bunker ,20 yards or So from the pin .
    How do you modify YOUR technique to handle this tough shot and,avoid a ” flyer “

    • Raymond,

      The would depend on the situation. If you have enough green to work with maybe you aren’t even trying to get it close. Maybe the lie is so bad you are just trying to get it on the green. Is the green elevated? If so maybe you play it back and bounce it on the green.

      Just think if you opened the face to 2 o’clock this would minus off 20 yards. Now add long rough and take off another 10. So you now need to use the right swing to hit the ball the right distance. You aren’t going to get a flyer you are going to get poor contact which would cause it to go too long. You would get poor contact because you were guessing. If your guessing you will look early to see if you hit this miraculous shot. If you are not guessing you are less likely to look. It is all about knowing what is going to happen before you even do it. Know the shots and your yardages. If you do, you will not be stressing out over shots like this.

  11. paul,i tried the shot over the bunker after watching your video and after a few tries this technic workes very well.thank you.

  12. April 23, 2016


    Greetings Coach I hit my 9 iron 130 yards. I use my 52 degree wedge from 10 to about90 maybe 100 yards.I have trouble sometimes from 100 to 130. I slid my grip down on my 9 iron between 130 and 100/90. I am usually successful and because of that I am confident but not REEEEALLY confident. I have a feeling you will say practice. Looking forward to hear what you think. THANK COACH

    • April 24, 2016

      Paul Wilson


      First you should be using a 56 for pitch shots not a 52. The only time I hit a 52 is between a SW and PW.

      Why are you not using your pitching wedge on these shots? Gripping down on a 9 irons doesn’t seem like the best option.

      You do your pitching wedge swing at full power for 120. Slower for 110. Even slower for 100. Then gap at 90 fast turn. Slower turn 80. even slow 70. Now you are down to a full SW.

      The concept is that I want people to do as many full swing as possible. Only abbreviate your swing from about 60 yards and in.

  13. April 24, 2016


    My question is not about pitching over a bunker — it is about your grips. Maybe because they appear to be white in color, they look to be over-sized. Are they larger (thicker) than standard? thanks, tom

  14. April 24, 2016


    This is the part of the game that is keeping me from shooting the scores that I am otherwise capable of. When I practice it at a local ball field, 95% of the results are good to great. On the course, it’s more like 60% and the rest can be fat or thin. Very often, it will be one fat and the very next thin. Very costly to my scores and quite frustrating. The old me would have completely changed the technique, but I don’t do that anymore since joining the site. I would guess the pressure I put on myself during play is the root cause of these bad results, but I can’t seem to get out of that funk. Your advice would once again be very appreciated.

    • April 24, 2016

      Paul Wilson


      Glad you don’t change. This is the right thought. Just understand why you hit the bad shots and understand exactly how to do the pitching technique.


      You need to hinge to the same spot every time. Easy to do because you are thinking of the pointing the butt at the target, ground and away from the target. To hit the shot you are turning your belt buckle left of the target to hit the shot. If you come out of it you will hit it thin. Why come out of it? Hitting with arms or guessing on the yardage. So keep the arms turned off and know your yardages so you are never guessing. I just posted how to stop fat pitches the other day. Here it is:

      How To Cure Fat Pitch Shots: https://ignitiongolf.com/cure-fat-pitch-shots/

      So you need to know exactly what you are doing before you do it. I think you are close but it needs more work.

  15. Paul – these are great tips. I was using them effectively while practicing pitching the other day, hitting perfect pitch shots on the range. Then I got out on the course yesterday and was shanking these short pitch shots virtually every time. The only way I could cure it was to ground the club about 6 inches inside the ball. When I do that, I was hitting the sweet spot of the club. Any ideas as to what causes this shank? (I know it’s hard without seeing my actual swing)

    Thanks – Bill Corrigan

  16. November 8, 2017


    Coach–I have seen a number of pros advocate a medium or short pitch shot using the bounce of the sand wedge so that you are not taking a big (or any) divot but you are creating a lot of spin. They are still using many of your pitching techniques. They even suggest practice the pitch from a green (if you can find one to do this on!). Thoughts?

    • Avatar photo

      November 8, 2017

      Paul Wilson


      Get good at my pitching technique. At this point you will be hitting it amazingly well. I never think about the bounce on the club. If you are trying to skim the surface you are/or will be thinking hitting with the arms. If so, you will be hitting zingers over the green of you will jam it into the ground. Unless you are about a 5hdcp or better I wouldn’t worry about hitting this shot. You need to be working on precise yardages, great contact, hitting flop shots etc. As you get better you will be able to spin it.

  17. it’s really hard to believe how easy you make pitching I tried your picthing technique for the first time and I was amazed at how well I hit the ball and how well I could control the distance For years I typically tried to play all the shots by feel guessing which club to use guessing how hard to swing it and of course I had terrible results. This is awesome. Thanks so much for sharing and teaching this.

    • Glenn,

      Yes, it is super easy and super effective. I get amazing results in minutes when I am teaching it to students. Guessing is not good.

  18. Paul

    Just learning to golf as an adult and have found your instructions incredibly helpful. I first purchased the body swing on a friends advice and have now been watching the videos on ignition golf.

    I had a question related to posture. I am having trouble understanding how the upright or standing posture I learned in the body swing relates to the stance in your pitching and chipping videos



  19. Avatar photo

    August 6, 2021


    Hi Paul,

    I have been practicing your pitching technique and yesterday I had to hit over a couple of bunkers to tight pins. I hit both just about right in terms of carry, but the pin was tight and the ball didn’t stop — it ran past the hole. How do I get the ball to stop within 5 yards or so?



    • Avatar photo

      August 13, 2021

      Paul Wilson

      You would want to start opening up your clubface more to produce more backspin on the golf ball. When you open the face up more, you have to 1) aim your body more left for a right handed golfer and 2) create more speed because the ball will go more up vs out. Try some and you will see.

You must be logged in to post a comment.