How to Hit a Plugged Bunker Shot

Plugged Bunker Shot

Are you having difficulty with plugged or “fried egg” bunker shots?

Leslie has been having difficulty with this type of lie and wrote to us and asked:

Hi Sean, I’ve been having a lot of trouble with plugged bunker shots or “fried eggs” as I’ve heard them called.  Can you give me a few pointers to get out of the bunker a little easier?

For almost all bunker shots, I’m a huge advocate of using the bounce of the club to assist you.

However, in the case of a plugged ball, I don’t want the bounce to be the first part of the club to enter the sand. With this particular shot, we need to dig the ball out of the lie - so it’s paramount that the leading edge of the club enters the sand first.

If you use the bounce, it will be very difficult to get the leading edge under the ball and dig it out.

Flat Stance, Plugged Lie Bunker Shot

For this particular lie, we want the leading edge of the club to enter the sand first.

You will play this shot with a square clubface, because it will be easier to get the leading edge underneath the ball.

There is no need to open the clubhead for this type of shot.

We need to drop the clubhead steeply into the sand, about an inch behind the ball.

Plugged Bunker Shot - Leading Edge

Setup

From a setup perspective, I’d like you to play this shot with the ball in the center of your stance, or just slightly back in your stance.

For a right-handed golfer, make sure there is more weight on your left side (lead side) at setup.  The weight distribution should be around 60% - favoring your left side.

You need a very steep angle of attack on this particular shot compared to other bunker shots.

I want you to feel like you’re not creating much width on your backswing, but instead creating an up and down movement (i.e. that you’re picking the golf club up).

Plugged Bunker Shot - Backswing

This will make it easier to create that steep angle of attack.

I don’t want you to worry too much about following through for this particular shot. If the club happens to stick in the ground, that’s okay.

Uphill Stance, Plugged Lie Bunker Shot

I just described a plugged ball for a level stance where there isn’t much incline or slope.

However, most plugged lies that we encounter are under the lip of a bunker, meaning our stance is very uneven and that we need to brace ourselves against the slope to hit the shot.

Everything I described for the setup in the previous shot will remain pretty much the same, with the ball position being in the center, to slightly back in the stance.

Due to the uphill slope, you’re going to have to favor 60% of the weight in your lead side - or maybe a little more depending on the severity of the slope.

Plugged Bunker Shot - Stance

I want you to feel like you’re making a backswing with very little width; it should feel like you’re picking the club up and creating an “up and down” motion.

This will make it easier for you to have a steep angle of attack, driving the leading edge of the club into the sand about one inch behind the ball.

I don’t want you to be too concerned with follow through; if the club happens to stick in the ground after you hit the shot, it’s okay.

Finally, one thing a lot of good players do with this type of stance and lie is that they fall back once the club has entered the sand. This will assist you, helping the ball get out of this lie and up onto the green.

Watch the tour players on TV; you’ll notice that when they hit a plugged lie on an upslope, they will fall back to help them get the ball in the air easier.

Check out this video where I show you how to hit a plugged bunker shot in real time:

 

Here’s The Next Step:

If you’d like something as a reminder when you go to practice bunker or golf course to help you hit plugged bunker shots, then download the bonus below.

You'll receive a free step-by-step checklist that shows you the step-by-step process to help hitting these types of shots.

 

Free Step-by-Step Checklist

How to Hit a Plugged Bunker Shot

     

    How to Hit an Uphill Bunker Shot

    How to Hit an Uphill Bunker Shot

    Have you ever been faced with an uphill bunker shot, and asked yourself how you should play it?

    This shot can certainly pose a lot of difficulty for golfers, but with good fundamentals and a sound technique, it’s definitely possible to get better and more consistent.

    Anthony was experiencing some frustration with this type of bunker shot and recently asked:

    Hi Sean, I’ve been having a lot of issues with my uphill bunker shot.  Typically I come up short -  and more often than not I leave my shots in the bunker.  Do you have any suggestions or techniques that can help me improve?

    Proper Club Selection

    The first thing I would like you to examine is you club choice.

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    How to Hit a Downhill Bunker Shot

    How to Hit a Downhill Bunker Shot

    The downhill bunker shot is one of the more challenging shots you’ll encounter on the golf course.

    We know that based on the slope, the ball will launch lower than normal. The main concern is getting the shot airborne quickly enough so that the ball carries the lip of the bunker and stays on the green.

    A sound technique will make this shot easier to play - with consistent practice leading to better results.

    Brett was having trouble with his downhill bunker shot and wrote:

    Hi Sean, I have been having a lot of difficulty with downhill green side bunker shots. I really have no idea how I should play them.  Could you please suggest some tips and share some information on how to play this type of shot?

    Downhill Bunker Shot Setup

    Brett, the first thing I want you to do is to address the ball so that your body is level with the gradient of the slope.

    Read More

    How to Hit Long Bunker Shots

    How to Hit Long Bunker Shots

    Most golfers who I meet feel that they have a good grasp of how to play a greenside bunker shot - but what about long bunker shots?

    Do you hit the shot with a square face?

    Do you swing harder?

    For the purpose of this video, we’re going to define a long bunker shot as a shot anywhere from 40-60 yards in length.

    Applying a good technique can make this shot easier to execute, help you get the ball onto the green, and in time help make more sand saves.

    Brian read our post on ‘Hitting a Greenside Bunker Shot,’ and had a question about hitting long bunker shots:

    Hi Sean, I saw your video on the high bunker shot and my greenside bunker play has really improved.  However, I’m  still having a lot of issues with fifty yard bunker shots. Do you have any techniques or suggestions on playing this type of shot?

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    How to Hit a Bunker Shot High

    How to Hit a Bunker Shot High

    There are different techniques for hitting bunker shots, and today I would like to share with you how to hit a high bunker shot.

    What do you do if you need to hit the ball over an extremely high lip in front of you?

    Some people think that there is very little room for error when hitting these types of shots; but if you have the right technique, you will have your friends’ mouths wide open in awe.

    Teddy asked about this topic in his question:

    Hey Sean, my home course has extremely high lips on every bunker, and I really struggle to get out of them. Do you have any advice on how to get more height on my bunker shots?

    The Golden Rule on Learning How to Hit a Bunker Shot…

    One thing all great bunker players have in common is how they use the bounce of the club when hitting out of the sand.

    This means the back of the club is the first part of the club to enter the sand when hitting sand shots, not the leading edge of the club.

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