Turn it Over
Master the long greenside bunker shot
“Let the hands roll to get the ball to the hole.”
You might get this shot only once or twice a round, but knowing how to get up and down from a bunker on the other side of the green can really help you score. When I won the Masters in 1981, I faced a long greenside bunker shot – about 80 or 90 feet – on the 17th hole on Sunday.The flag was all the way on the back of the green, and I was in a front bunker resting on the upslope. Fortunately, I caught it just right, hit it pin high about five feet from the cup and saved par to win my second green jacket.
How did I play the shot? I changed my technique from a normal greenside bunker scenario starting with aligning my shoulders more with the slope (left shoulder higher, right shoulder lower) and kicking in my right knee towards the ball at address to keep from swaying. When I swung, I let my hands release, or turn over, through impact.The reason for this different shoulder alignment is to keep from sticking the club into the bunker at impact, so you can cut a shallow swath of sand out from under the ball as you would do from a level lie. Instead of holding the clubface open and skimming through the sand, I let my hands turn over as the club passes through impact. Rotating them counterclockwise closes the clubface and helps project the ball out with some force. The key here is don’t dig too deep into the sand. Make a nice, shallow divot that starts behind the ball’s position.The ball will vault out of the bunker and then roll towards the hole.