Fried Egg Bunker Shot in Golf

Fried Egg in Golf: No Need to be Afraid

If you’re like most golfers, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself, “How do you hit a fried egg bunker shot?”

Of all the bunker lies you can get, this is a tough one. When the ball lands in soft sand, it partially buries in a mini crater and makes a good challenge for the everyday player.

Should you take a penalty stroke? Learn how to play it? Watch a bunch of videos on YouTube? Do you use the leading edge or bounce? Open the club face or keep it square?

We’ll help you avoid the fried egg confusion today so you can execute this shot like a PGA Tour pro.

Fried Egg in Golf – Everything You Need to Know

First off, what is a fried egg in golf? 

A fried egg is when the ball is sitting down slightly in the sand. This is not the same lie as a plugged bunker shot, which tends to happen in the face of the bunker. A plugged lie is when the ball is nearly embedded and one of the tougher shots in golf.

Read our full post on how to hit a plugged bunker shot.

A fried egg is when the ball is sitting down with a circle around it – similar to the yolk of an egg (hence the name). You can’t get as good of contact as a clean lie in a bunker or nearly as much spin which is why it’s so challenging for players. 

With a few adjustments, you’ll be able to get out of the trap with ease. 

Key Takeaways

  • A fried egg lie makes bunker shots more challenging, as half the ball is buried. It’s important to adjust your setup to play a fried egg bunker shot.
  • You need proper technique to execute this shot, which includes using the leading edge more than the bounce. Not to mention middle ball position with minimal forward shaft lean.
  • A buried lie (or embedded ball) requires a similar strategy when hitting from soft sand, which we’ll outline below.

Keep reading to learn more about this challenging shot now.

Fried Egg Lie in Golf

Stay Calm and Collected

Before any swing tips to hit from a fried egg, the first thing is a mindset tip. Bad breaks – like fried eggs, hitting out of a divot, or mud balls – are unfortunate but part of the game. 

However, most golfers make these shots even more challenging by complaining. The Golf Gods aren’t out to get you, it’s just a bad break. 

As the great Bobby Jones said, “Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad break from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots – but you have to play the ball where it lies.” 

Do your best to not negatively react to the situation so you can set yourself up for success. If you need more help with the mental game, click here

Take Your Most Lofted Club

Once you assess the lie, confirm it’s a fried egg, not a plugged bunker shot. 

If you have a plugged or embedded ball, we’ve got an upcoming article that will address that shot. But if the ball is sitting down slightly and not buried, keep reading. 

Next, grab your most lofted wedge. For most golfers, this will either be a sand wedge or lob wedge.

You don’t want a gap or pitching wedge unless the lip is minimal or you might not have enough loft to get out. Even though you use a SW or LW, you won’t get any backspin like you would with a normal greenside bunker shot. This is why these lies are so tough when you’re short sided.

It’s important to pick your landing area correctly, as the ball will hit the green and roll like crazy thanks to forward spin. A lot of times getting the ball just out of the bunker is key to seeing it hit and release toward the pin. 

Greenside Bunker Shot

Keep the Clubface Square 

Similar to a plugged lie, you want to keep the club face square with these types of shots. By keeping the face more square, it doesn’t expose the bounce as much. This will make it less likely for the club to bounce off the sand and hit up on the shot.

When you keep the face square, you’ll use the leading edge more than the bounce. This is the digging part of your club and is necessary to hit from this type of lie. 

Some golf experts will recommend even closing the face slightly. This is the exact opposite of a normal bunker shot, which might feel very uncomfortable for some golfers. For starters, keep the face square to help you make a more digging motion.

Since the club is way more square than normal, it’s important to change ball position. With a normal bunker shot, you want to play off your left heel (assuming you’re a right-handed golfer). However, with a fried egg you want the ball more in the middle of your stance. 

Hinge Your Hands Quickly 

Next, make sure to dig your feet into the sand. The worse the lie, the more your feet should be dug in to get on the same level as the golf ball.  

You also want to pick the club up steeper. Consider a lumberjack cutting wood, straight up, straight down is the type of motion you want for this shot. 

With this type of bunker shot, it’s important to hinge your wrists quickly. You want to feel as though the butt-end of the grip is pointing down at the sand so you can get steeper. This will help you make better contact, so the sand can carry the ball out of the trap.

Swing With Speed

With any greenside bunker shot – whether it’s a perfect lie or terrible lie – you need plenty of speed. Sand is heavy and you need speed to get the ball to explode out of the trap. Too many golfers forget speed and end up leaving it in the bunker. 

Despite hinging your wrists quickly and swinging with speed, you won’t have much of a follow through. You want to make a downward strike to the golf ball and this won’t result in a high follow through like a normal bunker shot. 

Hopefully the golf ball will pop up and head toward the target.

Optional: Take Relief From a Fried Egg Bunker

If you feel the lie is so buried that you can’t make magic, you can always take relief with a penalty stroke (or two) depending on the new location. The USGA gives you four options when it comes to bunker relief:

  • Drop the ball within two club lengths, no closer to the hole, like a normal penalty area with a one stroke penalty.
  • Drop the ball using line of sight from the hole but still staying in the bunker with a one stroke penalty.
  • Replay from the previous point with a two-stroke penalty.
  • Back on the line relief outside the bunker with a two-stroke penalty.

These are more last resort options but good rules of golf to know.

How to Play a Fried Egg Bunker Shot

FAQs About Bunker Shots 

Do you have more questions about bunker shots? If so, keep reading to learn more now. 

How do you make bunker shots easy?

Bunker shots are challenging for a few reasons – you don’t hit the ball like every other shot in golf but the sand, different lies, and using the wrong clubs. One of the most important things you can do is learn how to read the lie (normal, plugged, fried egg) and the sand (wet, soft, hardpan, etc.) as that’ll determine the type of shot you want to play. 

To make sand shots easier you also want to spend more time in the bunkers in practice. If you never spend time in there, it’s hard to expect to have confidence in your game. Test out different lies, use different clubs, and you’ll overcome your fear of bunkers. 

How do you play hardpan bunker shots?

Hardpan sand shots are difficult and unfortunately all too common. Hard pan either happens from rain or sprinklers that compact the sand or bunker that simply don’t have enough sand.

To play this shot, you want to keep the clubface square, very similar to a fried egg or buried lie. You want a little more weight on your lead leg, with the ball positioned slightly forward of center. 

This should feel like a long chip shot more so than a bunker as you won’t hit very far behind it. Otherwise, the club will bounce and hit the ball on the upswing. 

I like to feel that the heel of the club is hitting the shot and feel like I’m swinging slightly left (without aiming left). Remember that since the face is square, the ball will come out lower than normal as well. 

How to hit a Long Bunker Shot

How do you hit a 70-yard bunker shot?

A 50-70 yard bunker shot is one of the most challenging shots in golf. Don’t take my word for it, Tiger Woods said this himself in his book, How I Play Golf

Most golfers struggle with this shot, as it’s hard to figure out if you should play it like a normal greenside shot or a full fairway bunker shot. Check out our full guide to master this shot now. 

Should you choke down on bunker shots?

Yes, you want to choke down on the golf club for more accurate and consistent contact with the golf ball. The more a ball is buried or plugged, the more you want to choke down to get on an even surface as the ball. Even from fairway bunkers, it’s a good idea to grip up on the club. 

Is a steep or shallow swing better for bunker shots?

You want a steep swing more than a shallow swing when hitting bunker shots. It’s best to hinge your wrists quickly so you can get steep and hit behind the golf ball properly. The worse the lie, the more you should hit behind the golf ball with a steeper swing. 

My Experience

Getting a fried egg lie isn’t a good break, but it’s part of the game. With the ball buried, you need to have the right mindset and proper technique above all else.

Also, make sure to stick to a good pre-shot routine with a fried egg lie or any difficult shot in golf. This will help you stay mentally focused, not rush the shot, and pick the right landing area. Plus, a good routine should have some sort of acceptance so you’re ready for the next shot, too.

Golf Short Game

Final Thoughts 

When playing with soft sand, the ball can bury (partially or all the way) and it’s important to have a steeper swing. You’ll need the leading edge more instead of bounce like most sand shots.

Making the right adjustments at setup is key.

Practice these shots at your local short game area so they’re less scary on the golf course. A fried egg isn’t the end of the world when you have the right mindset and technique.

Michael Leonard

Michael Leonard

Michael is a friend and contributor to the Left Rough. He is a full-time writer, podcast host of Wicked Smart Golf, and mental golf coach. He’s played for 25+ years and regularly competes in amateur golf tournaments in Arizona.

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