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Bunker to pin advice

Sat, May 30 2020 7:18 AM (48 replies)
  • Puttluck
    8 Posts
    Tue, Jan 3 2012 9:58 PM

    Since becoming master, I realised I hadn't mastered all of my game so I've been mostly playing practice rounds and taking notes of all my short play shots (on various courses), collating that information and coming up with a formula, of sorts. I also noticed there wasn't much advice on getting from the sand to the pin so hopefully this helps you as it has me.


    Firstly, I'm mostly using a L39 Z satin TP64 with an average distance of 50yds and I practice with starter balls although when I use the L11 Srixon Z-star balls I get the same results.




    (28) 24yds, 4ft up from 20% (+4)= 32 dropped 19(59%),  ran 4…….-1

    (30) 24yds, 6ft up from 20%(+5) = 35 dropped 21(60%) ran 4……..+1



     These are just 2 of scores of examples I have where the 1st bracketed number is the combined length(yds) and elevation (feet are added as yards, not converted into yards). 20% is the maximum sand lie and the second bracketed numbers is the yardage I added to my swing to compensate for that lie. 'Dropped' is where the ball met the green. In both examples, the ball ran 4yds and in the first example, the ball stopped 1yd short of the pin and 1yd over in the second example.


     I've omitted explaining that the ball dropped 59% and 60% of the total hit because I got so many differing results that I couldn't see any correlation with these.


    Therefore: From 20% sand I found that combined yardage (of distance and elevation) of over 35yds where elevation exceeds 6ft needs 3 yards added.  (ball will roll further)

    Over 35yds (combined) with elevation lower than 6ft, add 4yds


    Less than 35yds (combined) and elevation is above 5ft, add 4yds

    Less than 35yds and elevation is below 5ft add 4/5yds.

      So, to clarify. If the pin is 25yds away and 4ft above your lie, 25+4+5 = 34yd swing.


    Of course, uphill, downhill and greens that break hard left or right will need to be adjusted to. I've also not mentioned wind either. Unless your playing in high winds, these figures are good in my experience.


    From 40% sand.



    34yds, 9ft up from 40% = 53 dropped 27(51%), ran 7……0

    24yds, 4ft up from 40%(10) =38 dropped 19(50%) ran downhill 9…+4


    In the 1st example I added 10yds and nailed it. In the 2nd example I added 10yds but didn't compensate for the downhill slope on the green. Although I holed it in the first example, it was traveling a fair bit so i recommend adding 9 instead of 10. To hit 53, I used a cleveland 60w with average distance of 80yds.


    Therefore:From 40% sand  combined yardage of 20-30, add 12

     combined yardage of 30-40, add 11. 40-45, add 10 and over 45, add 9.

    Again, compensate for your surroundings.


    I'll forego further examples and go straight onto 60% sand lie 


    Combined yardage of below 30, add 16yds. 30-40, add 17. 40-50, add 18 and over 50 combined yds, add 19.


    I tend to use full back spin on longer shots, where greens slope away from me and on deep lies. All others, I place the dot where the sand meets the ball.


    I apologise I haven't added in other sand lies but I just didn't see enough of them to get a reading.


    Also, some bunker shots that are shorter than the figures I've given or where the elevation is a large %age of the combined total will need either pitched or flopped as you will either drop it short or hit the fringe which tends to slope down into the green on many courses and catapult your ball well past it's intended target.


    Getting from a fairway bunker is a different beast altogether so my advice would just be to aim to get back on the fairway and take it from there.


    Remember, this isn't an exact science as all courses differ and you may use different clubs and balls as I do but If you use this as a baseline and tweak it, you'll find you'll get within 3ft of the pin every time.


     Finally. check out three of my bunker shots I've saved from the same round at Kiawah on 12/16/11  to give you an idea what practice and note taking does for your game.

     Good luck



  • Hobbes2001
    1 Posts
    Thu, Feb 9 2012 9:57 AM

    Can't believe no one has commented on your post yet.  I came to the forums looking for this exact type of guide.  Thank you so much for sharing your notes.  I plan on copying these into my spreadsheet of notes and will put to use in my next round.  Thanks again.

  • Puttluck
    8 Posts
    Thu, Feb 9 2012 2:52 PM

    Thanks for posting hobbes,

    To be honest, I read it back myself and think no-one replied earlier as it's a bit long winded.

    The summaries giving the distances required in certain sand lies do make it a bit clearer so I suggest concentrating on those.

    You should only have to do a little tweaking as  I see you are using the same club as I am.

    Let me know how you get on using this. I'd also be interested to know if you've needed to make many adjustments or have found something that helped your bunker shots that I may have missed.

    Finally, I suggest a few practice rounds hitting into the sand every time.

     Good luck and thanks again.

  • kilbraur
    219 Posts
    Sun, Feb 12 2012 1:47 AM

    First time I used this formulae I put a 21 yard bunker shot 2 feet from the pin. Looks pretty sound to me. Thanks for the tip.

  • navigater
    1,319 Posts
    Sun, Feb 12 2012 2:07 PM

    NOW MY HEAD HURTS.LOL nice post tho

  • oneeyedjohn
    9,022 Posts
    Sun, Feb 12 2012 7:37 PM

    Just try and hit the flagstick, works for me.

  • Richard4168
    4,309 Posts
    Sun, Feb 12 2012 7:47 PM

    Puttluck, you seem to have a pretty good method working for yourself. The only advice I can give is, watch your lie percentage and add meter power accordingly. After a few practice rounds on all the courses, you should get a feel for distance and roll-out along with knowing when to, and not to use back-spin. I apologize for not being too technical with numbers and all, but this is how I learned to play bunker shots with success.

    I'm sure you'll get more advice from some of the better players in a more technical format.

    Good luck to you Puttluck.

  • JeffBigg
    2 Posts
    Mon, Feb 13 2012 10:19 AM


    Really appreciate the information, I'm sure it will help my sand game.  I am confused between your 40% and 60% examples. 

    In the 40% examples, your chart works as follows:

    20-30 yds combined...add 12 yds

    30-40 yds combined...add 11 yds

    40-50 yds combined...add 10 yds

    over 40 yds combined...add 9 yds

    In the 60 % examples, your chart works the opposite direction:

    <30 yds combined...add 16 yds

    30-40 yds combined...add 17 yds

    40-50 yds combined...add 18 yds

    >50 yds combined...add 19 yds 

    Not sure but it appears your 60% example should be 16, 15, 14, 13 respectively?

  • pdxdriver
    2,628 Posts
    Mon, Feb 13 2012 2:00 PM

    Maybe you should just stay on the fairways in stead,so much easier lol.Nice work on the formula tho.



  • Puttluck
    8 Posts
    Mon, Feb 13 2012 4:34 PM

    Thanks all for the input.

    Jeff, good point and well spotted.

    In the 40% example, with less sand to contend with, a 45yder does need less addage in comparison to a 25yd shot.. Remember, over 40 yards, You will be using almost a full swing with the club I use so the harder it needs hit, the more you need to compensate. (less addage)

    This can also be seen in the 20% examples/figures.

    Now the contradiction -  Because over half your ball is buried in a 60% lie, the further it needs to travel, the harder it needs hit and therefore more addage is required.

    This at first may not make sense but after taking notes of hundreds of bunker shots, this is what i came up with and believe the reason to be is how much the ball is buried.

    Thanks again