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How often do you hear complaints from members of golf clubs that there is ‘no sand in these bunkers?!’ It’s common, but even if it’s a problem at your club, it is possible to play the bunker shot where there is no sand under the ball. 

Of course, the bunkers at Peebles Golf Club are fantastic. However, sometimes you might play a course where there’s a lack of sand beside the greens. This is tricky, but it is doable. There are a few changes you can make to tackle this shot…

Here are four ways that you can manage the no-sand, hard-pan, bunker shot.

Steep angle of attack

This set-up promotes a steep angle of attack and that’s exactly what we want in this shot. If we try and play it with a sweeping action, we’re only increasing the chances of blading the shot across the green. Instead, get the wrists hinged and promote a downward strike.

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Slow things down

I know I’ve told you to speed things up in the other scenarios, but this is often the opposite. Since we aren’t moving as much sand, we need to be slightly more delicate with this bunker shot. It’s all about judgement, but feel like this is closer to a standard bump and run shot.

Steve Johnston hard pan bunker insert
Playing this shot will look very different to a conventional bunker shot. (Credit: Eve Conroy/bunkered)

Toe down, face open

As we get closer to the ball, the toe of the wedge sits closer to the ground. Combining this with an open face will allow the leading edge to get into the little sand we have behind the ball. You’ve got a much better chance of getting some sand doing this, rather than playing it the conventional way.

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Get upright

As you can see, I want to get upright on this shot. If you use the bounce when the sand is firm, there’s a good chance it will simply hit the firm ground and fly into the equator of the ball. That’s not what we want.

Steve Johnston is a long-time member of the bunkered Performance Panel and is Scotland’s leading golf YouTube star.

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