Punch One from a Fairway Bunker

Sometimes it’s easier to roll the ball to the green than to fly it there

The Situation

You’re in a fairway bunker, but close enough to the green that a full swing with a short iron would come out too hot and roll off the green.

The Solution

If the front of the green is clear of obstacles, play a punch shot that lands short of the green and works its way on. Since all you’re looking to do is punch the ball, your finish is of little consequence. Focus on the backswing and impact cues below.

How To Punch It From The Sand

Step 1
Choose a 6-, 7- or 8-iron, depending on your distance to the pin. With a 6-iron, a bunker punch will give you 100 yards of carry and 50 yards of roll. The ball will fly low and run out onto the green.

Step 2
Set up with the ball back of center and the shaft leaning forward. Align the clubface square to the target. Take a narrow stance with more of your weight on your left foot and your sternum in front of the ball to create a downward angle of attack.

Step 3
Start your swing by hinging your wrists quickly back in a narrow arc. Cut your backswing when your hands reach hip height—that’s all the power you’ll need.

Step 4
From the top, pinch your knees and focus on making ball-first contact. Keep your wrists firm at impact—you don’t want to lose the clubshaft angle you created at address.


Rod Lidenberg