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Greenside Bunker Tips: It’s All About the Clubface

April 18, 2016

Do you feel utterly lost in a greenside bunker, with no idea how to address the ball, where to contact the sand or how hard to swing? There’s a much easier way to think about these shots, and you can use your regular swing.

Simply open or close the clubface depending on the amount of sand you need to displace. Open the face for good lies (less sand to displace) and close it for bad ones (more sand to displace), and then swing. Here’s how to position the clubface for three of the most common bunker lies.

Weekend players struggle in greenside bunkers by overthinking their mechanics. To make things easier, forget about your stance and swing and just adjust the clubface depending on your lie.


This is the best lie you can hope for in the bunker. Open the clubface so that the grooves point slightly right of the target line. This exposes the bounce on the sole of the clubhead, which allows it to skid rather than dig and take less sand. If you make contact with the sand about an inch behind the ball, the ball should come out high and soft with plenty of spin.


If the sand is extra soft, the ball might sit down a smidge. Square the face so that the grooves point directly at your target. This helps the leading edge dig a little deeper into the sand, taking slightly more sand than the open-faced shot. The ball will come out with less spin, so prepare for a lower ball flight and more roll once it lands.


If all or most of the ball is below the surface, close the face at address so that the toe is exposed to the ball and the grooves point well left of your target. This lets the toe slice into the sand like a snow shovel, moving lots of sand. The closed face will create a big wave of sand to propel the ball out of the bunker with little spin.