Score From The Sand

Get up and down every time

This Article Features Photo Zoom


JUST ABOUT EVERY WEDGE YOU CAN BUY can be played at least two different ways. You can tell by looking at the wedge’s sole. Along the center of the sole, if you’re going from heel to toe, you’ll see a bevel in the contour. This is what’s referred to as the wedge’s bounce angle. The greater the bevel in the sole, the higher the bounce angle, meaning the wedge becomes less diggy and actually more prone to bounce off the sand. The less bevel, the lower the bounce angle. This will make the club dig more easily into the sand.

The wedge’s bounce angle can be amplified just by opening the clubface. When you do that, the leading edge lifts up, and the sole minimizes digging and lifts the ball up in a hurry. The opposite effect would be to play the wedge square. This brings the leading edge way down toward the sand. It’ll want to dig into the sand like a knife and won’t want to bounce as an open-faced shot would.

AN OPEN-FACED BUNKER SHOT is best for when the ball is sitting up or just barely indented into the sand. With a moderate amount of sand between the clubhead and the ball, the clubhead should slip through the sand and bounce upward. As for the ball, it’ll fly high and stop quickly.

A SQUARE-FACED BUNKER SHOT is best for when the ball is embedded, or plugged, in the sand. (A closed-face shot is never a good idea). With the leading edge low, the club will dig into the sand to get below the ball. With this lie, expect a lower shot, and the ball will roll when it lands.


MATCH THE SLOPE FOR BETTER BUNKER SHOTS. The best way to play a bunker shot on a slope is to match your swing to the slope as best you can. To do this, you’ll have to manipulate your weight and body position. In the case of the photo here, the ball was sitting on an incline toward my target. That meant I had to align my shoulders parallel to the slope, and situate my body as perpen-dicular to the slope as I could by placing my weight more toward my back foot. This meant I had to work harder at making a weight shift toward my forward leg. As for the rest of the details, everything was played just as though I were on flat ground. The key with this shot, and with all bunker shots, is to make things as simple as possible.

Bobby Hinds, PGA teaches at Woodley Lakes Golf Course in Van Nuys, Calif. His popularity is attributed to helping players of all ages play their best golf with easy-to-understand principles. For more info, visit


Add Comment