We've all been there. You hit a towering approach shot, right down the flag, only to see it come up short and land in the bunker. Adding further injury to insult, you arrive at the bunker to see your ball buried in its pitchmark. Play it right and you can save par, play it wrong and you can card a very high number.
In this video, Scott Cranfield explains how to properly hit a short or long plugged bunker shot.
Not Your Typical Bunker Shot
The first thing to understand is that a plugged bunker shot is very different from a normal bunker shot. Your approach, set-up, technique and expectations should mirror the difficulty and challenge of the lie.
Hitting A Short Plugged Shot
Often if you short-side yourself, you may find yourself in a plugged lie with little green to work with, making the shot even more difficult. The goal here is to get the ball out of the lie and out of the bunker, but get it stopping as quickly as possible to leave a chance to save par.
Open The Clubface
The first tool you require for this shot is loft. You will want to open the clubface as much as possible at address and maintain that loft and position throughout the shot.
Ball And Weight Forward
To get the ball up, and stopping, quickly you should position the ball and your weight close to your leading foot (left foot for right handers). This position will help promote a steeper, sharper angle of attack into the ball, suited to digging the ball out of a buried lie.
Hard, Abrupt Swing
When it comes to the swing, you want to swing aggressively and steeply into the sand immediately behind the ball, and not worry about a full follow-through. The idea is to dig the ball from the lie, so swing hard and abruptly into the sand.
Hitting A Long Plugged Shot
The good thing about a longer, plugged bunker shot is that the lie prevents the ball from spinning like a normal bunker shot. This means the ball will run more when it lands on the green.
Closed Face And Stance
Unlike the shorter shot, you should close both the face of your club and your stance at address. This means your clubface will be aiming square to, or even left of, your target with your feet set-up much like a normal shot. This position will help you swing more on the inside and get the ball flying lower and further.
Grip It And Rip It
To keep the club from twisting when it hits the sand, you should grip your wedge tighter than normal. From there, swing aggressively and dig the ball from the lie, again limiting your follow-through. This set-up and swing should see the ball come out lower and run to the back of a green.