Why Are Bunker Shots So Difficult?
A lot of people have trouble in the bunkers because they don't understand the difference between when you want to use the sand wedge as a splasher and when you want to use it as a digger. Now your normal bunker shot, when the ball is sitting on top of the sand, you should be splashing or skipping the club through the sand. That is why it is built that way, it is built with the lower edge at the back end and the leading edge, the sharp edge, is higher in the air. That means that when you contact the sand correctly this is going to skip through there. That is why it was designed this way.
The Proper Technique for Hitting Sand Bunker Shots
As I set the club down and take a swing you see how I skipped through the sand, the club did not dig, it just skipped through. That is what you want to have happen when you hit a normal bunker shot. So I hit this shot, I let it skip through the sand, and the ball just flies out.
Now if the ball is buried then you have a different situation. Now you want the leading edge to dig because you have to get the ball up out of that cavity. So I push the ball down in the sand here and if the club splashed real shallow I would be blading the ball. I then take the leading edge of the club and tilt it down a little, I may even toe in the toe a little bit to get the leading edge down.
Then I place the ball slightly different, not quite so far forward, and I take the club back a little steeper, it comes down on the ball and that makes it a digger. My weight is a little bit forward, when I dig I give concussion to the ball, and that blows the ball out of the bunker. Not with backspin, because it is always going to roll from there, but it does get it out.
The Difference Between a Splasher and a Digger
The difference between a splasher and a digger is how you set up to the ball. Also you must be very careful with gripping. If you want to hit a splash shot and you have a grip that is a very closed-face grip you will very rarely get the ball to come out softly. So good grip, splash versus dig, that is the answer.