124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2


Steal My Feel

By Aaron Baddeley Photos by J.D. Cuban
August 20, 2012


Your No. 1 goal when facing a greenside sand shot is to get the ball out of the bunker. It would also be nice to hit it somewhere on the green, preferably near the hole, but nothing else should matter until you have a reliable way to escape.

Sometimes your ball is so close to a steep bunker lip, you have to make adjustments from your standard sand setup. To hit the ball on a higher trajectory, I address it with my body feeling lower to the ground than normal. My stance is wider, too, with more flex in my knees. But here s the real key: I stand a little farther away from the ball and then lower the handle of the club.

When you get low like this, you're essentially increasing the loft of the wedge without having to dramatically open the face. I do open it some (aimed to the right) to increase the loft, but lowering the handle is what really gets the ball over the lip. Once I have my setup, I make my normal bunker swing, skimming the club into the sand behind the ball. The faster you cut through the sand, the higher the ball will go. So remember to finish your swing to generate a lot of clubhead speed.

BADDELEY ranks sixth on the PGA Tour in sand saves (62.5 percent) this year.