How to Hit a Bunker Shot from an Upslope

An upslope bunker lie can occur when the ball rolls up the inner side of the bunker and comes to rest in an elevated position. This is in contrast to normal situations where the ball would roll back and come to rest at the bottom of the bunker, in a flat area. If the ball comes to rest on the opposite, inner side of the bunker then you will be faced with a downslope bunker shot.


Key Difficulties:

  • Maintaining balance
  • Club might dig too deep into the sand
  • Ball will fly higher and will roll a shorter distance

Wider Stance to Stay in Balance

Widen your stance for a bunker shotWhen faced with an uphill lie bunker shot one of the first challenges you will encounter is finding your balance. In order to help you stay in balance throughout your swing you should widen your stance, positioning your bottom foot down enough until you find yourself comfortable and stable.


Tilt Body So Spine is Perpendicular to Ground

Match the slope of the upslope with your spineAnother challenge you will face with an upslope bunker lie is making sure your setup position allows for your clubhead to slide underneath the ball. This is in contrast to digging right into the slope of the bunker and getting stuck there, never reaching the ball. To counter this, try to tilt your body sideways until your spine is perpendicular to the slope, or as close as can be. This setup will match the one you are accustomed to and will allow for the club to make its way through the sand, under the ball.


Don’t Involve Your Lower Body Too Much

Don't involve your lower body too much for an upslope bunker shotIn order to make sure you stay in balance throughout your swing you are advised not to involve you lower body too much in the swing. Rather, aim for an all arms swing keeping your lower body stable and acting as support for your swing.


Aim Close to the Flag

Aim close to the flag; ball won't roll muchBecause of its position on the upslope that acts as a launching pad, the ball should fly higher than normal and won’t roll as much upon landing on the green. As such, feel free to be more aggressive and aim to land the ball closer to the pin than you normally would.


Other Elements, Borrowed from the Typical Bunker Setup

Other setup elements of an upslope bunker shotOther than the modifications proposed above, use the same setup that you would normally use and no longer fear the upslope bunker shots.

  • Use a sand wedge
  • Grip down on the club slightly,
  • Open the clubface,
  • Open your stance,
  • Position the ball slightly forward in your stance
  • Aim 2 inches behind the ball
  • Use an aggressive swing – don’t decelerate

How to Hit a (Normal) Bunker Shot

Bunker Shot Setup


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Bunker Shot Tips

Bunker Shot Tips


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