Ditch this club when hitting 50-yard bunker shots, says Top 100 Teacher

GOLF Top 100 Teacher Cameron McCormick says ditching a high-lofted club while hitting 50-degree bunker shots is the key to more success

Jordan Spieth's swing coach, Cameron McCormick, says ditching a high-lofted club will bring more success.


Most amateur players search for greenside bunker help, but what about tips for hitting a 50-yard bunker shot that oftentimes leaves a golfer between clubs?

These types of bunker shots aren’t typically practiced, so how the heck are you going to see positive results if you’re ever forced to hit one during a round? Hitting and praying certainly isn’t the best gameplan.

So GOLF Top 100 Teacher Cameron McCormick has a tip for players who automatically grab a high-lofted wedge on 50-yard bunker shots: Ditch it!

According to McCormick, using this club in the sand from this distance is a “round wrecker,” and will only lead to more strokes and a higher level of frustration.

McCormick, who works with players like Jordan Spieth, offers his advice in the video below. Considering Spieth (a one-time Open Championship winner) is performing well at this year’s tournament at Royal Liverpool — which has some of the most lethal bunkers on the planet — only goes to show why the world-renowned teacher knows what he’s talking about.

Want more success on 50-yard bunker shots? Do this.

When most amateur players have a 50-yard bunker shot, a common result is chunking it out and then hoping to pitch it up to the green.

But why would you want to take an extra stroke because you simply used the wrong club?

McCormick says a player must avoid “riding the struggle bus” by choosing to hit their “most lofted club, your lob wedge.” He says the choice should be the pitching wedge instead.

“We’re going to drop the lob wedge and we’re going to defer down to a pitching wedge,” he adds. “The reason we’re going to use a pitching wedge is [because] it creates a greater level of certainty that we’ll have enough ball speed.

“Ball speed is the one factor that determines the carry distance the golf ball will have.”

derek swoboda hits fairway bunker shot
Immediately improve your fairway bunker shots with this 1 setup change
By: Zephyr Melton

Now that you’ve clubbed up to a pitching wedge for this 50-yard bunker shot, McCormick says to go about your routine as you normally would — digging in, creating a stable base, and hitting about one-and-a-half inches behind the ball.

“What we need here is, we need enough ball speed to carry that bunker. And we’re going to accomplish this by hitting a regular bunker shot,” he says.

“We still build a fort for our feet, we dig in for a nice stable base, and then we are not timid at all, [because] you can’t be timid on this shot. You’ve got to create a lot of clubhead speed.

McCormick reminds players to avoid being timid on these shots by demonstrating how an aggressive swing with the pitching wedge from a 50-yard bunker shot will result in the ideal distance.

“My 130-yard pitching wedge, in this case, exploding out of the bunker, is going to go about 50 yards.”

So instead of hoping you hit the perfect shot with your lob wedge from this distance, give yourself a little more club and stay aggressive. As the video above shows, the result will often be exactly what you want.

Nick Dimengo

Golf.com Editor