Beginner's Guide To Tackling Plugged Bunker Lies

Plugged in the bunker

Getting the ball out of a normal lie in a bunker is hard enough for most golfers. Any kind of plugged lie is enough to drive many amateurs to pick the ball up and start walking towards the clubhouse. A plugged bunker lie is nicknamed " a fried egg" lie, named so because of the way the ball looks with sand circled around it in the bunker.


The plugged lie is caused by the ball coming in from a height and burying itself in the bunker. Alternatively, when there is lots of sand in the bunker, even shots coming in on a low trajectory can end up plugged.

However, with a few adjustments to your set up and swing, it is fairly easy to pop the ball out and get it on the green.


The first step when faced with a fried egg lie is to lower your expectations. Your goal should be to get the ball out and somewhere on the green. Forget about getting it near the flag. Once you are on the green, you can save the day with your putter.

The tools for the job

The sand wedge or even a 60-degree wedge is ideal for getting the ball out of a bunker. The more loft you have in your hands when tackling a plugged lie, the better.

Set up

Loosen your grip a lot so that the club is almost falling out of your fingers. With a loose grip on the club, you can leave the club head in the sand while the ball exits. Adjust your feet so that the ball is towards the middle of your stance - this will help you dig for the ball.

Follow through

You won't have much of a follow through with this shot and the ball will come out low so if you have a high lip in front of you, consider playing sideways out of the bunker just to get the ball out. If you are going for the green, take the extra roll into consideration and land the ball well short.


For an example of a great bunker shot out of a plugged lie, watch Nick Faldo's bunker shot at the 12th hole of Augusta at the 1990 US Masters. With water behind the flag, Nick was able to pop the ball out and keep it on the green. He later holed his par putt and went on to win the major tournament.