Jordan Holes Out of the Bunker…So Can You

Greg Ellis
Great Golf Academy
Goodyear, AZ

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If you happened to watched the Travelers Championship you saw Jordan Spieth hole out of the bunker on the first playoff hole against Daniel Berger to win the Travelers. How did he pull this shot off and how can you have similar results? Most golfers dread when their ball goes into the bunker.  You shouldn’t. I have always said this is the easiest shot in golf. It is the only shot that you actually try to mis-hit the ball and hit the sand before the ball. With this in mind, should you ever face this situation, here is how you want to handle the dreaded bunker shot: 

•  The first thing is, do not panic. The golf shot appears to be more difficult than it truly is. Stand up to the shot and invoke a positive mental attitude that will enhance your opportunity to successfully execute the golf shot. This shot must be approached like any other greenside shot.

•  Take a stance that will be open to the intended target line. Use your normal grip. Lay the clubface wide open so that the face of the club is facing the sky. The ball must be positioned in the middle of your stance. Brace your weight (70%) on your foot closest to the intended target. The knees should be flexed. This provides a more stable base for the force of this specialty shot.

•  The alignment of the club is to be set with the middle of the club directly behind the ball. The club slides under the ball with the sand lifting the ball out of the bunker. 

•  The backswing will be very steep and along the line of your feet alignment. The swing should be approximately ¾ length. The downswing will be a steep descending swing that will allow the bottom or sole of the club to dig down slightly into the sand underneath the ball allowing for the clubface to trap sand between the clubhead and the ball. The ball will pop up and out of the bunker and land softly on the green. The ball will not “scream” across the green like what happens when most golfers attempt to hit the golf shot by closing the clubface down.

•  The key to every good bunker shot is to accelerate through the downswing. Decellaration will make the club get stuck in the sand and the ball will not pop out.

Practice this and if you have any challenges with this, please feel free to contact me at the  

In the meantime, be sure to tune in to the Bunker to Bunker Golf Show every Saturday morning from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station or on the internet at for more tips and updates on all of the week’s golfing news in the Valley and around the world. Join Greg, Jim Hill, and Marty Monaghan for a comprehensive look at the golf world for the week.