Long bunker shots are some of the hardest shots in golf — at least for most people. Tiger Woods made it look easy during his first Presidents Cup session; his wonderful long bunker shot on he 11th hole helped propel him to the U.S. team to its only point of the day.
With a bit of technique and understanding you too can hit this shot, too.
Sound up. 🔊@TigerWoods with the perfect up-and-down. pic.twitter.com/t1nV9noRMR— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) December 12, 2019
Keep The Clubface Less Open, More Square
Most bunker shots call for a higher, shorter shots, that fly high and drop dead when they come back to earth. Tour players do this by opening their club face wide, so they can slide their club underneath the ball.
But in the case of longer bunker shots like this, you need a clubface that is less open, and more square. A more square club face will help increase the distance that the ball travels. As you can see below, his club face is relatively square at the top of this backswing (left picture below) compared to his shorter bunker shots (right picture below).
Setup Like You Would a Normal Shot
You may also notice in the picture above that Tiger’s body is more open to the target on his shorter shot than the longer shot he hit yesterday. That’s because when pros open the face, they then need to open their stance to realign the club face to the target, which also helps them to swing down their shoulder line across the ball, producing a shorter shot.
But because Tiger’s club face is relatively square in his longer bunker shot, so are his stance and his body lines. I helps the ball travel farther because he can make a more normal upper body rotation like that of his regular full swing. This greater upper body rotation helps to produce more power and also a more shallow swing, which whill help he ball fly slightly longer.
It’s something many of today’s amateur golfers could learn from this.
A more square club face and set up, can make it that much easier to allow the body to rotate like that of a full swing, helping the golf ball to go far enough to get to your target. The neutral set up allows Tiger to be able to take a full swing back and through which is necessary to cover this much distance and this full swing also helps to increase swing speed.
Swing Soft, Club Up
The last option you may need to consider based upon your personal swing speed is club selection. If you sand wedge does not travel far enough, a great next choice is your gap wedge, which is less lofted but still has enough bounce to glide through the sand. The lesser loft will help your golf ball to travel farther.
Understand that with the right understanding, technique suited to your own ability you can hit impressive long bunker shots like Tiger. Square your club face and set up. Take a regular, full swing with normal body rotation back and through while using your regular speed and momentum, consider a less-lofted option like your gap wedge, and you may have the final ingredient to taking down that club championship.