During the offseason, I play a lot with my amateur buddies in Atlanta. I have a big edge in the short game, and bunker play in particular. These tips are for them—they know who they are—and for you, too.
(1) At address, lean to your front side. Push 80 percent of your weight to your forward leg, enough that you feel pressure in the thigh. That sets up a descending blow. A lot of golfers hang on the back foot, sensing they need to help the ball up. But you’ve got to hit down.
(2) With the clubface slightly open, take the club back to the outside. Then swing down on an out-to-in path, but not too steep. You don’t want to dig. You’re looking for a sliding action. Let the bounce, the heavy sole of your sand wedge, control the depth.
(3) The final key is rhythm. Keep it slow and smooth. See my long follow-through? You can only do that with a nice, even tempo. Remember these three tips, and you’ll be fine.
Chris Kirk, 30, has four PGA Tour victories and played on the U.S. team that won the 2015 Presidents Cup.