Hit a Greenside Sand Shot

For a lot of amateur golfers, the greenside sand, or bunker, shot can be extremely difficult. Most of the time, you’ll only hit a couple of these shots in a round of golf, so most people don’t spend a ton of time practicing these shots. Plus, the unfamiliar ground condition makes it more confusing and players don’t know if they should hit it the same as a ball in the grass or differently. The short answer is, different. So, what is the proper way to hit a shot out of a greenside bunker?

OPEN STANCE

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. If you were to measure the angle created by your feet line and target line, you’d have about a 35-45 degree angle.

 
 

OPEN FACE

Next, you need to do to hit a solid greenside sand shot is open your clubface. Keep in mind, the clubface is open in relation to your feet, not your target line. This will increase the loft on your wedge and allow you to get the ball up in the air quicker than if you had the clubface square.

 
 

SWING DOWN STANCE

Now, on to your actual swing. You’ll want to make sure that your swing path (green arrow) 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). In this case, because your stance is open, you will be swinging the club across the ball and to the left (for a right-handed player) of the target. Your club head will, basically, be cutting, or slicing, across the ball instead of hitting directly at it.

 
 

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 even require that your clubface ever make contact with the golf ball. Instead, it slides directly underneath the ball and the displacement of sand is what throws the ball onto the green. Imagine a circle around your ball, approximately ½” bigger than the circumference of your golf ball. Your goal is to hit all of that sand with your club head.

FINAL THOUGHTS

When you hit a shot out of the sand, remember, you’ll want to swing harder 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.

Also, don’t forget that you don’t want to touch the sand with your club until you’re actually hitting the ball. Resting or touching the sand with your club before your shot is a penalty under the rules of golf.

That’s it! A greenside bunker shot is really that simple. It might take a little practice to get a feel for the different swing, but if you’re able to do the four things above, you’ll be hitting great greenside bunker shots in no time.