How to hit a downhill bunker shot

Going in the bunker is bad enough but it's even worse when you're on a slop in the sand. Here's how to get out of the trap without too much trouble.

Bob Warters's picture
Bob Warters
Wed, 3 Apr 2013

How to hit a downhill bunker shot

More and more amateur golfers are getting comfortable with basic bunker shots. The flange and bounce built in sand wedges allows the club to flip the ball out onto the green to give you a fighting chance of saving your par or bogey.

However, the ball often ends up in a difficult position in sand – sometimes on a downhill lie, needing you to play an exquisite shot.

The danger is approaching the ball steeply and chopping it from a steep angle further into trouble or ‘skinning’ it out across the green.

“The technique I use,” advises spanish female professional Vanessa Vignali, “is to position the ball in the centre of my stance with the clubface square to the ball and my weight favouring my left side. I grip down the club a little for more control.

“I set my shoulders parallel to the slope in the sand. My swing thought is merely to swing the club down a through with the slope. I must not try to scoop the ball in the air.

“Grip lightly and after settling your feet into a firm stance in the sand, swing down and through to a high finish.”

Article first published August 2002, updated April 2013.

1. Grip down the club



2. Sweep down and through



3. To follow through is important