How To Hit The Basic Sand Shot

By Hank Haney Photos by Dom Furore
February 07, 2011

No Quit: Keep your body turning through the shot so your chest is facing the target at the finish.

Tour players don't fear bunker shots the way most amateurs do, but only a handful of the pros get up and down from the sand more than 60 percent of the time. What's the lesson in this? Learn the basics, so you don't fear the sand, and adjust your expectations. Make sure you get out of the bunker and give yourself a chance at a one-putt, but for the most part be satisfied with getting down in three.

To get out safely, open the clubface so the club can bounce off the sand instead of dig. You want to hit behind the ball to splash it out on a patch of sand, so play the ball forward in your stance, up by your left foot. The big key during the swing is to follow through, and turn your body to the target.

Most amateurs swing the club into the sand, and when they feel the resistance, they quit on the shot. Plus, they're fearful, so they tend to lock their bodies in place and just wave at the ball with their arms. Commit to turning to a full finish, and you'll get the ball out every time.

HANK HANEY, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, runs the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy in Hilton Head.