Successfully Chipping Over A Bunker

There is little doubt that every golfer will find themselves out of position during their round of golf. In some cases, players will have to hit their ball over an obstacle in order to land their ball close to the pin. A majority of the time it will be a bunker, but a water hazard, plants or rocks can cause the same distress on their close approach shot. Regardless, it is important to understand that the lofted shot over something is a something every golfer should have in their bag. There are a plethora of methods to successfully execute a chip over a bunker and I am going to present a simple, repeatable shot that every golfer can emulate.

Natalie Adams from Smash Factor Golf provides a simple step by step process for executing a shot over an obstacle. I watched the video several times and gleaned something different that will help with my game. In my case, I am honing this shot, but for beginners, it will provide a foundation on which to build this challenging chip shot. Take a look:

For my game, three things mention by Natalie are important and one tip she did not mention I will share. Three fundamental aspects of this shot from the video that reinforces my shot making are as follows:

  • Weight Distribution. I always have a 60/40 weight distribution when chipping. I find that with a bit more weight on my lead foot, I am not tempted to try and help (scoop) the ball during contact. It forces me to hit through the ball and let the loft of the club do the work.
  • Knowing Hitting Distance. As mention in the video, knowing how far my ball will travel from the different positions during the backswing is crucial to successful chip shots. Know the distances removes any guess work in the shot. It allows me to be confident that I know how hard to successfully hit the ball over the bunker.
  • Rotating My Body To Finish The Shot. Rotating my body prevents the ‘chicken wing’ that Natalie talks about. It helps with the fluidity of the shot during the finish. This is one aspect of this shot that is the most important for my game because I do have a tendency from time to time to not rotate. It usually results in a chunked shot.

The one point that Natalie did not mention that I think is important is to open my clubface slightly. This movement prevents me from hitting the ball left all the time and helps ensure the bounce of my wedge is used properly. After plenty of practice, I found that opening my clubface helps with my aim and ball contact. Two very important parts of any chip over an obstacle.

Successfully chipping a ball over the bunker is not as scary as some may think. Having a simple process, as explained by Natalie Adams from Smash Factor Golf, will eliminate the anxiety of worrying about missed shots. It will give you confidence during all phases of this chip shot….I know it worked for me! Next time we go to the practice area, set up the conditions of hitting the ball over an obstacle and give Natalie’s process a try. You might be pleasantly surprised on how easy and effective it is.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


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