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Lesson Tee

Image: Don't Spill The Salt

Keep your hands and forearms quiet in the bunker

October 2012

Some players hit great little soft bunker shots using a lot of hand and wrist action. But the average golfer would be more consistent with a less wristy swing. The big issue in the sand is controlling the clubface, because that determines the loft at impact and how the clubhead bounces through the sand.

It's best to start with an open face and keep it open throughout the swing. If the face angle changes mid-swing--either closes on the backswing or turns over through impact--judging distance and direction becomes tough. No consistency.

Here's a demonstration I do in my schools. First, I pour salt on the face of my sand wedge (above). Then, I take some slow swings above the ball, keeping the face open so the salt stays in place, both back and through (right inset). It requires resistance in the hands and forearms. If you close the face going back (left inset) or roll it coming through, you dump the salt.

Use this image of keeping the salt on the face. It'll help you maintain loft and bounce the club through the sand.

McLEAN is ranked No. 3 by his peers on Golf Digest's list of America's 50 Best Teachers. He's based at Doral Golf Resort & Spa, in Miami.

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