Lou Stagner's Newsletter #28

Greenside Bunker Benchmarks

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Greenside Bunker Benchmarks

For us amateurs, greenside bunkers are hard. They typically present a much bigger challenge than greenside rough. How much of a difference is there between bunker and rough?

Off to the Arccos database we go, which is creeping up on 800 MILLION total shots! (pssstt… Arccos has a huge sale going on right now).

The chart below shows how many shots harder it is from the bunker compared to the rough. For example, for a zero index, they average 0.30 more shots on a 10 yard bunker shot than a 10 yard shot from the rough.

Interestingly you will notice that from each distance, the “challenge” of being in the bunker compared to being in the rough is about the same across skill levels.

Overall, bunker shots inside 20 yards will average about a quarter shot higher than shots from the same distance in the rough.

My Thoughts

First, this is why it is important to shy away from bunkers. It’s harder to score from a bunker compared to being in the rough. We want to hit as many greens as possible, while balancing bunker avoidance.

If you are going to miss the green, in many situations you are better off being shortsided in the rough, than in a greenside bunker.

Second, you won’t avoid every bunker so you need to spend time working on this part of your game. I did a survey several years ago and a large portion of players indicated they never practice their bunker game. If this is you, this is low hanging fruit.

If the practice facility you typically use does not have a place to work on greenside bunkers, I would encourage you to find one that does and get there a couple times a month to work on these shots. You don’t need to spend a huge chunk of time on bunker play, but if you are not spending ANY time on this skill, find a way to work it into your practice plan.


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    Have a great week!

Lou Stagner