How To Hit Short Greenside Bunker Shots to a Tight Pin

By | on January 28, 2023 | 37 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+

37 Responses to “How To Hit Short Greenside Bunker Shots to a Tight Pin”

  1. Fine and useful lesson,Paul,thank you .
    Two questions :
    -Should you adopt a weaker grip for this shot,e.g one knuckle of left hand showing instead of two Knuckles ?
    – Instead of manipulating the Clubface by opening it 45

    • Raymond,

      Glad you liked it. Thanks.

      No you never change your grip in this situation.

      You can use lob wedge but even with that club you should open the face. When I lay it flat it is probably and 80 degree wedge. Give it a try.

  2. May 17, 2013


    If I also lowered my hands would this help in hitting the ball higher.

    • John,

      You don’t need to lower your hands. This is changing your swing. If you change your swing you have to practice twice as hard. With the face is open you are using and 80 degree wedge.

  3. Hi Paul on these bunker shots short and med is more weight on front foot and not as much weight shift

  4. Hi Paul,

    Do you have any instruction on getting out of green side bunkers with very steep up to the green? I call it like being in the belly of a whale. Very formidable, like a cliff.



  5. Hi Paul,
    Yes this s a good tip, however some of the green side bunkers at my home club asquith are twice as high cliffs as you show in the tip. Same principles?

  6. Hi Paul,

    Got it! 1st hole on stroke play, green side bunker very deep, up n out high n soft and holed it for par, loose arms and fast hip
    Rotation, face at 10 o’clock as I a, lefty.. With my 32handicap, that’s 4 points. I am 56 years old, been serious golfing 15 months and have a great memory! Many Thanks to you Paul.


    • August 7, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      Good stuff. Never say you’ve got it though. Not even Tiger says this after he demolished the field by 8 shots.

      • Good point, I should’ve said had a good day. The rest of the story was I got outa every bunker (7 each) on the first try. This was another first. But I still scored 106-32 for 74 on par 70. So, as you can see, there’s a long way to go. Nevertheless, your instruction, in my opinion is tops. I will definitely stay with powerless arms. Thanks again, Harold

        • August 8, 2013

          Paul Wilson


          That’s great news you are getting it out the bunkers. This will give you confidence for the future. At your level, keep just trying to get them out and onto the green instead of trying to put it close. If you do you will gain confidence quickly then you can dial it in on the target.

  7. Thank you so much Paul. Respectfully, harold

  8. Great tip. I struggle in bunkers when the ball rolls up the face away from the hole so I am standing on a down hill lie and my left foot can be quite a bit lower than my right – Help!

    • August 16, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      I don’t have tip specifically on this topic yet. I will do one in the future. When? Who knows.

      In the meantime here is the one I did on downhill lies:


      Set up like this. Aim left. Open the face. Do your normal swing the best you can.

  9. October 24, 2013


    Hi Paul

    I have noticed many of my bunker shots come out quite low, and just barely make it out of the bunker. And often you see the PROs hit their bunker shots and get so much height with the ball. I am just wondering, how do they get this height? I am assuming the key is to have a stepper swing plane, and I need to pick up the club quicker in my backswing?


    • October 24, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      You need to make sure that the face is open through impact plus you are driving the lower body harder. If the club does not have enough speed it simply slides under the ball not creating enough lift. So feel the legs and hips drive hard and you should see the height increase.

  10. Hi Paul;
    It seems that nearly every tip you show, other than short chips isn’t much different than a normal shot, including bunkers. Always turning your body towards the target. I haven’t tried your bunker technique yet but it seems that slippage would be an issue although when I see your video, it doesn’t seem to be a problem. Is this due to digging in as far as possible, especially with soft sand, or do I dig in just enough to feel stable? Thanks.

    • Michael,

      That s because you need to be hitting the ball with your body rotation not your hands and arms. Your body is an axis. The club is mass. Why move the mass on its own? Just move the axis and the mass will follow 100% of the time.

      You won’t slip in the bunker if you dig your feet in. 3-4 twists is all you need. If you get too low you will take too much sand. Make sure you get right through it and the ball will pop right out. Try to hit the ball and you could be in there forever trying to get it out.

  11. Hi Paul
    Which wedge to use? 56 or 60 degree? Does it matter?



    • Venu,

      I use a 56 because that is what I grew up with. You can use either. Just get the one with the right bounce. More bounce fluffy greens. Less bounce for course sand greens. Try them and see what works.

  12. do you hit the sand before the ball and if so how far behind?

    • Leonard,

      Yes, your club would hit the sand before the ball. How much sand would be depend on many factors such as:

      how much you dig your feet in
      how fast you turn your hips
      how fast you shift your weight
      how much weight you shift
      if you are gripping down on your club or not ((I hope you are not gripping down)

      Probably something I am missing.

      Sty focused on doing your normal golf swing while digging your feet in, aiming left withe face open. This is the easiest way to hit bunker shots. Doing it this way stop you from having to do a totally different golf swing. If you have a bunker swing and a golf swing you would have to practice twice as hard. Why do that?

  13. October 28, 2015


    So you would say looking up too early is the number one reason I catch the ball flush and knock it over the green?

    • October 29, 2015

      Paul Wilson


      Looking up or coming out of it would have the club coming off the ground therefore hitting it thin potentially over the green. The harder you hit, the more you will look to see what you hit. This is human nature. Stop hitting and you will be less likely to look.

  14. October 19, 2016


    Hi Paul
    Do you have any tips for Deep green side bunkers like big pot bunkers. In my home course some of the pot bunkers are so deep I can’t see the green at all when I am inside the bunker. I am 5′-4″ tall.


  15. December 21, 2016


    Hi Paul

    Have you had a chance do the videos on downhill vs uphill bunker shots?

    • Avatar photo

      December 22, 2016

      Paul Wilson


      Unfortunately, I have not done these shots. I was going to do more bunker tips but they were doing some work on the practice bunker. Last year they ripped up half the green. I will get to it at some point. Not sure when though.

      In the meantime, apply some of the thoughts in these 2 tips to these types of bunker shots. Just realize the ball will not hook or fade using a sand or lob wedge.



  16. Great tip akin to Mickelson Flop Shot! Where is the ball location for this shot? Is it the same as regular bunker shots?

    Thank you, Paul!

    Ron Areglado

  17. November 2, 2018


    Ive watched this tip and read some of the comments about deep green side bunkers and understand that you have to work on them, having good results from most bunkers now with your tips, but the deep green side bunkers “you know ones i mean six feet deep with ball towards front” and you cannot get a swing follow through, you need to just about watch the ball pass your face on the way
    up, should you hit them like a plugged lie/ hit with a very open face/ like flop shot.
    As you would appreciate it can quickly become frustrating can you give any tips or do tip on these bunkers down the road.
    kind regards Mal Parker.

    • Avatar photo

      November 2, 2018

      Paul Wilson


      I would be hitting out backwards as to not leave it in the bunker. Depends on your confidence. You can also cut across it using the tip you are replying to. This way you can do a full swing with the lip tight.

  18. Avatar photo

    June 29, 2019


    Hi Paul,

    I have only recently joined your brilliant site and already made great improvement. But the bunkers here in the UK are sometimes very bad with stones in, always concerned i will damage my sand wedge in there. Also hard sand that does not drain well in our English weather. Do i need to go deeper and how far behind the ball do i need to focus on?

    Kind regards

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