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They say it’s the hardest shot in golf, but the long bunker shot can be made easier if you follow some keys.

Once you understand some basics, the long bunker shot is manageable for any player.

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How to play the long bunker shot

The first objective, as with any bunker shot, is to get it out. You need to remember that you do still need to pick a club with enough loft to escape. However, I might take another club if I want to hit it longer and the situation allows. So rather than taking my 56-degree wedge, I might go for my 52.

My biggest thing with these shots is making sure you have enough length in the backswing, and you’re not trying to speed up through impact to make up for taking a short swing.

long bunker shot
It’s wise to aim for the centre of the green when you have a long bunker shot. (Credit: Kenny Smith/bunkered)

Next, you want to take less sand. In greenside bunkers, you can take a lot of sand and get a big splash with it, but for a long bunker shot, if you’re 40 or 50 yards away, less sand is always going to work better. The more sand you take, the more the club will slow down and your distance will decrease on the shot.

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Keep it simple

On shots like this, I’d really recommend that you just ignore the flag and aim for the centre of the green, even if you’re not that far away.

It’s still a difficult shot, so don’t take any risks you don’t need to. As much as these tips will help you, you still need to allow for a margin of error.

Unlike a typical bunker shot, I don’t want to have the face open as much. If anything I want the face to be square, so we can just use the natural loft on the club. We’re not looking for a huge amount of height, it’s more the distance that we’re looking for.

Ailsa Murphy is a PGA Professional at Peebles. You can book a virtual lesson with her through Skillest and follow her on TikTok.

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