Bunker Blues

This trendy new bunker technique tour players use will probably help you

February 06, 2024

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Look closely the next time you see a tour player hit a bunker shot, and there's a good chance you'll spot something interesting.

More and more tour players these days are dropping their trail foot (right foot for right-handers) way back behind their left. It gives their stance the appearance of aiming way out to the left of the target.

You can see LIV Mayakoba winner Joaquin Neimann doing it last week:

He's not the only one. Scottie Scheffler hits bunker shots this way, as does Collin Morikawa, among many others.

It's interesting because the traditional bunker advice is to open your stance really wide (aka, drop your lead foot back), open the face, and swing across it. It’s a kind of holdover technique from the hickory days to make the unforgiving club designs work slightly better in the sand. The leading edge on older clubs like those meant those wedges would dig into the sand in a hurry, so golfers needed to make some pretty drastic alterations to prevent that from happening.

But wedge design is better these days, which means golfers don’t need to manipulate your body as much. So, pros have adopted the simpler technique of dropping their trail foot back.

The new bunker technique

Why? Because pulling your trail foot back helps golfers keep their weight more forward, onto their lead leg. That helps them hit down on the ball without having to cut way across, which reduces sidespin.

The superior design of the wedge itself will glide through the sand without digging.

"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."

He continued:

“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.”

It means that players can get the best of all worlds with this technique. They can swing aggressively, without fear of unpredictable results. And, better yet, they're taking full advantage of the design of the club in their hands.