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Golf Lessons: Choosing the Right Club for Your Bunker Shots

When playing a course that has a fair amount of bunkers, there are certain clubs you should pack for emergencies. Many professional golfers make a point of fitting these clubs into their bags because even though they are adept at dodging bunkers, if they do happen to get stuck, not having the right club can completely ruin their game.

The following three pointers pertain to choosing the right club for different types of bunker shots. We will then give you a quick look at the techniques you should implement when using these clubs.

Steep uphill lies

The most lofted club—the 60-degree wedge—is probably the club you’ll use the least when you play a golf game. However, it’s an emergency tool that’ll get you out of a pickle if you happen to land in one; but only if you know how to use it. For those impossible-looking uphill lies, the 60-degree lob wedge is perfect.

Technique: This stroke requires a smack of the clubface into the sand just below the ball. Done correctly, this should shoot your ball upwards and out of the bunker.

Downhill lies

You have two options with downhill lies. Depending on how far the ball has sunk into the sand, a sand wedge or normal iron club will do the trick to get them out. Bear in mind that if you intend on using an iron, you should go for a strong one.

Technique: For downhill lies, always line up your right foot closer to the ball. Make sure your swing doesn’t hit the sand before it hits the ball. A few practice shots are recommended before using either your sand wedge or your iron of choice for this shot.

Buried lies

A square faced club is the way to go with buried lies. The flatness of the face is just what you need to manoeuvre the ball upwards and out. The reason an angled surface won’t work in this situation is because, as you’ll see below, the clubface’s purpose is to use the sand to push the ball out.

Technique: With buried lies your clubface will hardly—if at all—even touch the underside of the ball. Instead, with your sweeping stroke under ball, the sand itself will lift it out and, with some luck, you’ll land it back on the green.