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How to escape from pot bunkers

February 13, 2018

Pot bunkers are delightfully devilish features of links-style layouts, but they’re not delightful to hit from. So the first rule in handling these bunkers is to stay out of them. Inevitably, however, you’ll find yourself in their grasp, which means moving on to the second rule: Get out!

The secret is speed. The faster your clubhead moves through the sand, the quicker the ball will get up into the air. Now, you could just try to swing faster, but if your technique generally has the club digging into the bunker, it won’t matter. Instead, try these setup tweaks from Top 100 teacher Debbie Doniger (@DebbieDoniger), which promote the speed you need while helping you smack the sand using the rear of the sole. With this combo, you can’t miss.


Choose your highest-lofted wedge (at least 58 degrees). Open the clubface before you put your left hand on the grip. Go for a slightly stronger hold, with your left hand rotated to the right on the handle. This will help you maintain the loft and set your wrists early.


Play the ball forward of center and take a wider than normal stance. This lowers your center of gravity for extra stability. Then drop your hands, so they’re closer to the sand. These simple tweaks allow you to better use the club’s bounce and maintain stability when you swing.


Flex your knees and pressure your left side. When you swing, keep your lower body quiet — this blast is mostly hand and arm speed (though your body should follow the motion). Impact the sand as normal. Because of your setup changes, the club will power through the bunker like a hot knife through butter.