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The new school bunker trend tour pros use, explained

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There's no shot in golf which plagues golfers more than bunker shots.

Yet, tour players seem to make bunker shots look easy. Sometimes very easy.

And that's because being a good bunker player, in many ways, requires mastering a radically different technique. Done incorrectly, it can ruin rounds and break golfers' hearts. But recently, some tour players have started adopting a technique that kind of flies in the face of conventional wisdom.

I break it down in our most recent episode of Film Study, which you can watch right here:

Old School

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Traditionally, players have been taught to hit bunker shots by opening their clubface wide open, so it's pointing out to the right, then counteracting it by opening their stance so it's pointed out to the left.

The goal is to swing left with a clubface which points out to the right, which sends the ball splashing out somewhere in between. Most players still hit shots that way.

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New School

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But as short game expert and former PGA Tour winner Parker McLachlin explains in the video, more and more players, notably Collin Morikawa and Scottie Scheffler, are making some changes:

  • They set up with a square or closed stance
  • They drop their hands lower to the ground

There are a few reasons for this—and why it might help you.

First, the open clubface and swipe across it technique was a method players developed to counteract older wedge designs, which were more prone to digging. With more bounce and other technology options available in new designs, players can dial in the amount they want the ball to dig.

By dropping their hands, players learned that they can open the clubface without pointing it so far to the right.

By closing their stance, it helps position more weight on their front leg, which allows them to hit down into the sand more.

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"Standard advice for greenside bunker shots is to open the clubface wide, then open your stance and swing hard, cutting across the ball on an out-to-in path along your stance line. It's the technique I learned growing up, but I find it's too extreme for such a simple shot. I've abandoned it for an easier way to get it close from a bunker....Instead of setting up with my left foot open, I drop my right foot back, which aims my feet out to the right of my target. Doing so puts more weight forward, forces me to turn around my lead leg, and steepens my swing just enough to put the low point in the perfect spot without having to do anything else. I don't have to think: I just pull my right foot back and swing."

You can take a deeper dive into the difference in the video below: