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Copy Bryson DeChambeau's Bunker Shot With These Tips

By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Published on

(Chris Keane/USGA)

This year's U.S. Open will be remembered for Bryson DeChambeau's impressive 55 yard bunker shot on the final hole . . . and his successful up-and-in to secure the win.
Hitting a bunker shot from an awkward distance like 50 yards in golf can be intimidating, even for experienced players. It requires a combination of technique and confidence to execute successfully. With the right approach and practice, however, you can improve your ability to tackle long bunker shots and increase your chances of getting the ball close to the hole.
Here are some tips to try:
1. Proper Club Selection: When facing a long bunker shot, selecting the right club is crucial. For bunker shots around the green, a sand wedge or a gap wedge is typically used. These clubs are designed to provide the loft needed to get the ball out of the sand and onto the green. However, for longer bunker shots, like a 40 or 50-yarder, it may be better to use a pitching wedge or even a choke-down nine iron.
Bryson DeChambeau on the final hole of the U.S. Open. (Chris Keane/USGA)
Bryson DeChambeau on the final hole of the U.S. Open. (Chris Keane/USGA)
2. Adjust Your Set Up and Ball Position: Ball and body positioning are critical when hitting a long bunker shot. For right-handed golfers, open your stance by aiming your body to the left of the target and position the ball slightly forward in your stance (vice versa for lefties). This setup will help you achieve an appropriate angle of attack, allowing the club to slide under the ball and propel it out of the bunker.
3. Visualize the Shot: Before hitting your shot from the bunker, visualize the trajectory and landing spot on the green. Visualizing a successful outcome can boost your confidence and help you focus on executing the shot as planned.

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4. An Accelerating Swing: A long bunker shot requires a controlled, smooth and accelerating swing that will generate enough power to propel the ball out of the sand and reach your landing point. Focus on maintaining a steady tempo and accelerating through the ball to ensure clean contact. Avoid decelerating as this can result in a poor strike and a shot that ends up far short of the intended landing spot you were looking at.
5. Commit to the Shot: Confidence plays a significant role in successfully executing a long bunker shot. Once you've selected your club, adjusted your stance, and visualized the shot, commit to the swing with confidence. Trust your preparation and focus on making a smooth, solid strike on the ball.
6. Practice Makes Perfect: As with any aspect of golf, practice is the key to improving your long bunker shot technique. Dedicating time to practicing various types of bunker shots, especially the long ones, is important to your long-term success. By refining your skills and building confidence in your ability to escape bunkers, you'll be better equipped to face long bunker shots on the course.
7. Stay Positive and Patient: It is essential to maintain a positive mindset when faced with challenging shots, including long bunker shots. Understand that not every shot will be perfect, and it's okay to make mistakes. Stay patient and focused and learn from each attempt to improve your performance over time.

Brendon Elliott is a PGA Coach in the Orlando area. Check out his profile here, or find a coach near you.