Waukesha County Seniors Monday Golf League


your system for sand

If you quake at the thought of sand play, here's a system to help you master the proper technique for various sand shots. Follow these guidelines and you'll soon realize that playing from the sand is easier than it appears.

Start with the Right Club

You can't be a good sand player without a good sand wedge. It must have a large flange on the sole, called bounce, that allows the club to slide through the sand, instead of digging the way a normal iron would. Even if your pitching wedge looks well-lofted, without bounce it won't do the job in the sand.

Basic Formula

The basic formula for an explosion shot is: Open stance + open clubface + out-to-in swing = success.

On a shot from 10-15 yards, take your stance with your feet, shoulders, and hips pointing about 30 degrees left of the target. The ball should be even with your left foot, far enough forward to guarantee that you'll hit the sand, not the ball, first. Grip the club so that when you address the ball, the clubface points slightly to the right of the target. Being careful not to touch the club to the sand at address (grounding the club in a hazard is a penalty), swing back and through along your body line. The club should enter the sand one to two inches behind the ball. In fact, you shouldn't hit the ball at all. It's the sand you hit, not the club, that pushes the ball into the air and onto the green. You'll miss the usual "click" when the club meets the sand, but swing through naturally, striving for a full finish.


  1. Short Shots: When the pin is cut close to the edge of the bunker, a few adjustments are in order. Open your stance to 45 degrees left of the hole and play the ball ahead of your left foot. Open your clubface to 20 degrees right of the hole and make a shorter backswing. As always, be sure to accelerate through to a full finish.

  2. Long Shots: For longer explosions, take a stance that is only slightly open (15 degrees), and play the ball just inside your left heel. Keep the clubface square to slightly open and make a longer swing.

  3. High Shots: Facing a high lip, set up for a normal bunker shot, with your feet 30 degrees open and the ball off your left foot. Then lay the face of the club well open, to 30 degrees. The open face plus a normal bunker swing will pop the ball high in the air so it lands softly.

Private Lessons 1999 Times Mirror Magazines, Inc., used under license by GolfServ Online, Inc. Instructional information provided by Golf Magazine.

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If you have any comments or suggestions regarding this web site, please write to me: Ed Matarrese / revised April 7, 2002.