You're right where you don't want to be -- in the bunker. If that weren't bad enough, the ball is plugged, most of it below the surface of the soft sand.
Be confident; don't let the situation beat you before you make the shot. You may not be able to knock this shot stiff, but unless the ball's totally buried, you can get it out.
Forget the Sand Wedge
From most bunker shots you'd use a sand wedge, which has a large flange that allows it to skim rather than dig through the sand. But for a buried lie you must dig deeper than normal so that the sand behind the ball pushes it up and out. The sand wedge won't dig deep enough no matter what you do.
Instead, turn to the pitching wedge. Its smaller flange allows the leading edge to dig, and in most cases you can get it under the ball.
Forget Normal Technique
From a normal bunker lie, you address the ball with the blade of the sand wedge open to facilitate skimming and add loft to the shot. Also, you swing with an active right side, slapping or slicing through a thin layer of sand so the ball pops up softly and with backspin.
This technique won't work on the buried lie. Here, you must address the ball with the face of the pitching wedge square or even slightly hooded. Keep your stance square with the weight on your left side and the ball centered between your feet.
Aim to hit the sand two inches behind the ball. Use a steep arm swing back and through, keeping the weight left. You should feel that the left arm and side are pulling the club down.
The deeper the lie, the more you hood the blade and the harder your swing.
Forget the Pin
The ball will fly onto the green in a burst of sand. It will roll a long way after it hits because you can't put backspin on this shot. So, if the pin is cut close to the bunker, forget about getting the ball close. You want to hit the shot with enough force to carry the bank and hit the green. Then let it roll.
With the pin toward the far side of the green, you can get it close simply by letting the ball run to the hole.
Private Lessons 1999 Time4 Media, Inc., used under license by GolfServ Online, Inc. Instructional information provided by Golf Magazine.