This is the key to hitting a high, soft bunker shot, according to a Top 100 Teacher

man in bunker

Hitting a high, soft bunker shot is easier than you think.

Getty Images

There are a few shots out there that, when executed properly, make you feel like a real player. The high, soft shot from the sand is one.

Becoming a proficient bunker player can pay huge dividends in your game. Once you master the sand, bunkers go from being potential scorecard disasters to scoring opportunities — and a chance to show of your impressive skills to your playing partners.

My relationship with bunkers has been a volatile one. I’ve gone through long periods where just getting out has been difficult, let alone getting it close to the hole. That’s why, when I had the opportunity to talk to Top 100 Teacher Jeff Smith at GOLF’s recent Top 100 Teacher Summit at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz., bunker tips were among the first topics on my mind.

How to hit a high, soft bunker shot

“The first thing we need is understanding that we have to have a mini explosion of sand right under the golf ball,” Smith began. “So the easiest way to get that is to move the ball more forward — about underneath your front hip joint — and you need the club to move in a steep fashion up and down so that the bottom of the arc of your normal, natural golf swing will be right below that golf ball.”

Emilia Migliaccio plays a shot out of the bunker during the playoff.
Think of these 3 things to hit a perfect bunker shot every time
By: David Armitage, GOLF Teacher to Watch

That’s the biggest key right there, according to Smith. If you can position your club correctly at impact, the club’s loft will do the rest.

“All the sudden, all that mass of the club is dead below the center mass of the ball and launches it straight up into the air,” Smith said. “You’ve already got plenty of loft if you’re using a sand wedge or a lob wedge, so you don’t need to open it up that much. You can if the sand is a little soft. But if it’s a little firm you don’t need to.”

Smith says you can even use a pitching wedge with this technique.

“It’ll still come out soft and high,” he said. “But it will still have some roll too.”

I can’t wait to give it a try in my next round. For more tips from Smith, click here. Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on

generic profile image Photographer