Golf Pro Tip: Chipping Over a Bunker

Golf club designer Roger Cleveland offers his tips for chipping over a sand trap to a tight pin.

All that separates you from the green is a dreaded bunker. Being able to avoid this obstacle successfully can help you stay under par and keep you from adding strokes to your score.

Hitting a well-placed chip shot to the green can be the difference between playing for par or a bogey. Adding a sand trap in the middle of this process can certainly make your approach more difficult. Golf club designer Roger Cleveland offers some tips on how to connect on a chip shot over a bunker to a tight pin.


To have a successful chip shot over the bunker, you need to match the bottom of your arc to the lie. Depending on your course and previous shot, your lie could be on an incline or a decline. You may need to adjust your body to avoid bottoming out before hitting the ball.

“You take your spine, [and] it’s not comfortable, but you put it perpendicular,” Cleveland says.


When you go to hit this chip shot, you need to look at it as a soft pitch instead of a shot to elevate the ball.

“Most people will try and elevate the ball,” Cleveland says. “[But] they’ll bottom out before the ball and bad things happen.”

As you swing, you will break your wrists as you make impact with the ball. This will allow you to get under the ball for more elevation. Remember to keep your clubface open to generate more loft.

Once you master chipping over bunkers, you will be ready to sink your putt and play your way to a personal best score. But if you do land in a sand trap, don’t panic. Cleveland has more advice on how to escape the bunker.