For a lot of amateur golfers, the greenside sand, or bunker, shot can be extremely difficult. Maybe you’ll only hit a couple of these shots in a round of golf, but maybe not. The lack of frequency often keeps us away from practicing them much. No worries though, here’s how you hit those shots well.
First, you’ll want to open your stance in relation to the target. On a normal shot, your feet line and target line are parallel, but not when hitting a bunker shot. For a right-handed player, your feet line ought to point significantly, but comfortably, left of the target.
Open Club Face:
Next, open your club face. Keep in mind, the club face is open in relation to your feet, not your target line. This increases the loft on your wedge and allow you to get the ball up in the air quicker.
Swing Down Stance:
You’ll want to make sure that your swing path (green arrow below) travels parallel to your feet line. In a normal shot, you’d want your swing path to do the same thing, but it would also go towards to target (blue arrow). Your club head will, basically, be cutting, or slicing, across the ball instead of hitting directly at it.
Hit Circle of Sand:
Finally, unlike a typical iron shot, you’ll want to make sure you make impact with the sand before the ball. In fact, the best sand shots don’t technically require that your club face ever make contact with the golf ball. Instead, it slides directly underneath the ball and the displacement of sand is tosses the ball onto the green.
Imagine a circle around your ball, approximately ½” bigger than the circumference of your golf ball. (Though it will change depending on how much sand is in the bunker; more sand = larger circle) Your goal is to hit all of that sand with your club head.
When you hit a shot out of the sand, remember, you’ll want a longer backswing than a shot of similar distance that’s in grass. This is because you’ll actually be hitting a lot of sand instead of the ball. Making impact with the sand will slow down your club head and lead to a shorter shot.