Score From The Sand

Get up and down every time

This Article Features Photo Zoom

How you grip the club greatly influence the type of shot you want to hit. Here are two grip positions. The circled grip is my standard hands position, and the inset photo above shows a faster hands position.

Faster, you ask? Allow me to explain. Typically, when we see a grip as pictured in the inset photo above, we think of it as a "weak grip," since the hands are situated to release sooner and, in terms of full swings, produce weaker shots. In the sand, a weak grip actually can help you hit the ball higher and make the ball stop faster. Just remember, "weak" only applies to the early release of the wrist hinge, not actual grip pressure. Be sure, no matter what type of hand position you choose, you grip the club with enough tension so the wedge doesn't slip in your hands as you make contact with the sand. Experiment and see what works best for you.

Bunker shots can be awfully counterintuitive. It seems the more you aim left, the more your shots fly to the right. In reality, that's how things are supposed to work, but it's not impossible to hit straight shots. The key is in managing your angles. To keep it simple, consider that for every degree open you rotate your stance, match it with an open clubface. As you do that, situate the target right in between the two angles. From here, be sure to swing along your stance and not right at the target! You'll soon see that your sand shots will fly better.

The setup and impact positions may look similar, but they're actually quite different. At setup, the body should look poised to make a hit, with your weight centered, the club hovering above the sand and the shaft vertical to the ground.

At impact, there are three main differences. First, my weight has transferred to my forward leg. You can't hit great sand shots off your back leg! Second, the shaft is leaning toward the target. This is a must for consistency. In fact, it's the loft of the wedge that will lift the ball, not a lack of shaft lean. And, third, because I need to hit down and into the sand, my knees are flexed more at impact than they were at address. If you can concentrate on making these three differences at impact, you'll see that hitting sand shots is a lot easier.


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