Uphill Bunker Shot

June 21st, 2018
VIDEO: Transcript

If you are struggling with playing uphill slopes and bunkers, or just like to learn how to play those a little bit better, I’ve got a few things here that can hopefully help you improve your performance on those.

So, let us say that we’re on a slope like this and the ball is sitting on the slope here, and we’ve got to get it up and onto the green there, so what you could do is that if the slope is like this and you stand level to the slow, when you swing, basically, the wedge is going to go right into the slope. So, if you have arthritis or you don’t like the wringiness your joints, you can certainly play them like that and just play it as though it were a flat bunker shot, and then swing level to where that would be and just drive right into the ground and hit may be 1 to 3 inches behind the ball, and that’s going to pop the ball out pretty good, I think, but I think what’s a little bit better, especially again, if you’ve got some joint pain or something like that, then what you can do is you can put your weight on your back foot, and then raise your lead leg up, and then kind of tilt yourself to the slope, and what’s going to happen with that is when you swing, you basically want to keep your weight on your rear foot only and don’t move it from there, and then when you swing, you try and level yourself somewhat to the slope, and then you swing up the slope so that you are not going to be driving into the ground so much so it’s not going to hurt so much when you hit the ground like that, but what you have to keep in mind when you do that is that normally, we’ll use this so you can see what the clubface is doing, so normally, on a flat slope like this, the loft is going to be presented like this, but if you are kind of tilting yourself to the slope, notice what happens to the loft here: it’s going to get to be more loft, so if you are on the slope – this is a 57° wedge – sand wedge – it comes at 55° but I got it back to 57°, but anyway, if you tilt yourself this much and you swing and you arrive at impact with the sand like this, you can see the loft is almost going basically straight out. So, what you probably want to do with this shot is to take a lower lofted club, so this one is like I said, a 57°, so what you might do is take something, a gap wedge or a pitching wedge, or nine or eight, something that’s going to have less loft and I guess, you could play something like this, but you are going to have the swing really, really fast to get the ball to go far enough to get to the slide. I guess, just depends a little bit on the situation, so if you have a front flag and you don’t have any green to work with, then maybe that is okay, but if the pin is a little bit further out, then particularly since we’re on the slope here, so balance is going to be a little bit more challenging, and keeping your weight only on the rear foot there, then it’s a little bit easier to keep balance when you don’t have to swing is hard. So, a higher lofted wedge, you’re going to have two swing really, really hard with that with like a tilt like this to your body, so take a lower lofted club, it just depends on the situation, the severity of the slope and how far you want to hit it, but you can literally play this shot with a gap wedge, a pitching wedge, a nine-iron, an eight-iron, a seven-iron, a six-iron, it just depends a little bit on the situation, how much lower you need it to come out and how far you need the ball to go. So, I think that’s what I would say for that. Those are the main things. This, of course, assumes that you already know how to play a basic bunker shot. Those things aren’t really going to change that much. You still want to head roughly anywhere between one and 3 inches behind the ball. Hitting a little bit closer to the ball is going to make it carry farther and spend more, getting a little further back is going to make it not carry as far but it’s going to roll out. Both end up going about the same distance, it’s just a matter of deciding how much of a swing you want to make, and you got some forgiveness of they are. So, that’s no different, and then also, if you want to look at some other basic sand play on the channel to understand what the leading edge is doing and what the bounce is doing there on the bottom of the club as far as digging in or opening it up and using the bounce so it doesn’t dig again, and then of course, minding the lie angle if you are opening the clubface, but we won’t really get into that in this video. This is kind of assuming that you already know how to play a basic bunker shot and just look around on the channel if you need to find a video just for a basic bunker shot.

So, I think that’s all I would say for that. Just to recap, my general recommendation is to tilt yourself to this slope, put your weight all on your rear foot, just keep it there, and then swing with the slope, but instead of taking your normal, say sand wedge for example, you might want to take like a gap, pitch, nine, eight that’s going to have that lofted a little bit lower, and then you basically just play the same as you would on a normal bunker shot, swing at the slope there, hit the sand first, the sand is the deflective. It’s going to shoot the ball out, and then again, it’s just a matter of deciding how hard you want to swing, just use your instincts for that and make it be reactionary like you are throwing a ball to someone. You don’t really think about taking your arm back this far, throw this hard, you just kind of look at the target, and then instinctively react, try and be smooth, and you should be able to pull this shot all of it better.

So, give those things a try and hopefully, this will help you play a little bit better on those uphill sloped bunker shots.

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