Nicolas Colsaerts: Masters long range and short range bunker shots

In this tip, Nicolas Colsaerts tells you how to master both the long range bunker shot and the short splash

Do you struggle knowing which shot to hit depending on where you are in the bunker? Whether you need hitting long shots out of fairway bunkers or splashing shots out by the green – Colsaerts shows you how to both.

“Fairway bunker shots and greenside splashes cause amateurs all kinds of problems but they don’t bother Tour pros in the slightest,” Colsaerts says.

“This is because we are used to hitting the ball slightly before the turf and so, on full-length shots from the sand, we can simply use our regular swing. And on those short-range splashes we know how to adjust our body angles and use the sole of the sand wedge to judge height and distance. Turn the page to see how I play both types of shot.”

This tip comes from our sister magazine, Golf World. For subscriptions – click here

The long-range bunker shot 

Hold your head high and reduce knee flex

The one thing you’re trying to avoid here is catching the ball heavy. Take too much sand and you’ll take yards o your shot. A slightly ‘thin’ contact is the better alternative. To achieve this, I stand a little taller at address and hold my head higher to give my shoulders room to turn on a slightly shallower plane.

If your chin is jammed against your chest (below), your shoulders have nowhere else to go but down. I also reduce knee ex. Again, standing taller helps reduce the leg action in your swing that can cause you to lose height and hit the shot heavy.

Hover the clubhead

To give you the feeling of being able to catch the shot cleanly, hold the club a little higher above the sand than normal – perhaps half an inch or so. It’ll give you a little bit of extra margin for error with the strike.

The Short Splash

Use a ‘butterfly’ grip to maximise the loft

There’s no shortage of advice on how to hit it close from the sand, but the real secret to playing great bunker shots is keeping the loft on the clubface from address through impact. Get that one thing right and your bunker play will improve instantly. To help me achieve this, I use what I call a butter y grip to play the shot. Basically, I turn both hands inwards so that you can see more knuckles on both hands. Try it for yourself. You’ll nd that you can swing con dently and aggressively through the ball without any fear of the clubhead digging deeply into the sand.

Short splash

Set weight on front foot

I like to set a little extra weight on my front foot at address because it takes weight shift out of play. That allows me to create a more consistent point for the club to enter the sand behind the ball.


- Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us.