How to Get Close from the Sand

By Contributing Writer

Playing from sand is one of the scariest shots in golf for amateurs. Yet pros routinely hit such shots close to the pin. They generally prefer to play from the sand instead of greenside rough. By mastering a few basic techniques, you too can lose your fear of the sand and regularly get up and down in two shots from greenside bunkers.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate
Step 1
Position the ball opposite your left heel (for a right-handed golfer). Open your stance by turning your left foot outward. Your feet should point about 15 degrees to the left of the hole.
Step 2
Open the face of your sand wedge so the face points at the hole. To hit a high soft shot out of a deep greenside bunker open your stance and the face of the club even more.
Step 3
Visualize the shot you want to hit. See the ball flying up and landing on the green. Decide how far you need to fly the ball and how far it will roll when it lands. Successful sand play depends on making a confident and positive swing through the sand. Take a few seconds to form this positive image of the shot's result before you play.
Step 4
Pick a spot about an inch and a half behind the ball and keep your eyes on that spot as you swing. This is the point where you want your club to enter the sand.
Step 5
Accelerate through the shot to make sure you don't quit and stop the club when it hits the sand. Failing to hit through the sand and into your follow-through is the most common reason for leaving the ball in the sand.

Tips & Warnings

The best way to improve your consistency from the sand and hit the ball close to the pin regularly is to develop a technique that has as few variables as possible. The above tips can be used for bunker shots of any length around the green. To vary the distance of your shots do one of two things: Maintain the same setup and change the length of your swing or change the distance behind the ball where your club enters the sand. The closer to the ball you hit the further it will go. Practice both methods to see which suits you best. Remember: Hit the sand and not the ball and make sure to accelerate through the sand and finish your follow-through.
The best way to improve your consistency from the sand and hit the ball close to the pin regularly is to develop a technique that has as few variables as possible. The above tips can be used for bunker shots of any length around the green. To vary the distance of your shots do one of two things: Maintain the same setup and change the length of your swing or change the distance behind the ball where your club enters the sand. The closer to the ball you hit the further it will go.
Practice both methods to see which suits you best. Remember: Hit the sand and not the ball and make sure to accelerate through the sand and finish your follow-through.

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