Chris Stroud - Basics Of Bunker Play (Part 1)

Chris Stroud discusses the basics of how to hit a greenside bunker shot. He starts with analyzing the lie of the ball and the stance angle of the shot (Part 1).


So it appears your ball may have landed here, gone up, and go over there, which-- hey, pretty good strategy.

Turned out really good. Obviously, I'd love to have been on the green. But this is actually a really nice place to be-- uphill lie in a bunker. Not a very long bunker shot. Uphill green. This is one you make or at least the worst shot three or four feet you make a tap in birdie.

All right, talk to us a little bit about what you're trying to accomplish here with this shot.

So obviously in a bunker the first thing you want to check out is your lie. This is an OK lie. It's uphill. There's no buried lie. I didn't plug like I've seen a bunch. It's got some rake marks but nothing crazy. So I'm done with that.

Next thing I see-- it's only upslope. So that's the one thing you got to be careful with. On the upslope, the ball's not going go as far. So that's another thing I take in account just like reading a green.

So I'm reading the lie. I'm reading that. Now what I do is I go back. I'll check it out. I'm always visualizing, seeing. And so in my mind, I feel like no matter if I spend it or not, if I hit the right height which should be about the height of the pin-- if I hit it about that high in the air, I can land it two or three feet short and have a chance to make it. But it's not going to get away from me.

So I'm trying in my mind how hard do I need to hit it, to hit it to that spot. So I'm seeing that spot. I'm going to see it roll in. And now I'm going to go into my setup.

And just for sake of showing the camera, I'm going to draw a line here. So my line I'm seeing in my mind is about like that. So I'm seeing this ball come out. So I can't do that obviously in a tournament, but I see that line. So I'll always pick out something on my line to make sure I'm square to that.

So I'll come in here. I see that pine straw. So now right here. I know I'm set up. So that's done. I'm set up square.

So now the next thing is-- sort of like my chipping-- I'm going to have my hands a little in front. I'm going to be a little bit wider.

So I don't want interrupt here, so you're not a big open out across guy?

Nope. I'm pretty square. I'll definitely have a tendency. I'll have a little bit more of a cut to it, but I'm definitely not really steep and way left. I've tried the kind of on plane the whole way. To me, that doesn't work great for me. Best thing what I've learned is getting in here to a pretty square setup, and adjusting this, and just trying to use the bottom properly.

And using the bottom properly, you mean the bounce of course.

Using that bounce and trusting my equipment is done right. I've worked years on trying to get the bounce just right for me, the weight of the club-- all those little things that factor into it.