Charles Schwab Challenge

Colonial Country Club



Short Game

LPGA coach: 3 keys to hitting a high, spinny greenside bunker shot

August 22, 2023
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Octavio Passos

Plenty of shots appear on golf broadcasts that leave us wishing, If only I could have that shot in my bag… Watch this greenside bunker shot Ryann O’Toole hit at the ISPS Handa World Invitational. It’s one of them.

It flies high, spins hard and comes to rest right next to the cup. How exactly did she do it? We talked to her coach, Jorge Parada, one of Golf Digest’s Best Teachers in New Jersey, to get the three keys to hitting this shot.

Move toward the target

“As the golf club swings back, we get the pelvis, torso and head to all move slightly laterally towards the target,” Parada said. By doing this, the club’s contact location in the sand has shifted closer to the ball than it was at address. That move adds spin.

Increase loft

Parada says they add loft in the expected ways: by opening the face and keeping the handle down at address. But they also increase loft in the backswing.

“Her lead wrist goes into extension/dorsiflexion (meaning it’s more cupped) at the top of the swing which will open the face more, so that she can release it harder to generate more clubspeed. More speed without losing the desired loft will increase both height and spin,” Parada said.

Keep your feet planted

“For really short and high shots we like to make sure the right heel stays down as long as possible to ensure that the pelvis does not lift through impact,” Parada said.

Follow these three tips from Parada and you could see your bunker shots look more like O’Toole’s.