PGA Championship

Southern Hills CC


Instruction

tour technique

How Patrick Reed succeeds from the sand, and how you can too

April 26, 2022

John Loomis

Your goal from a greenside bunker is simple: Give yourself a reasonable chance to hole out with your next shot. That’s it. You can do that if you come up with a simple strategy and stick with it. Here are my keys:

DIG IN AND CHOKE DOWN

From an open stance, play the ball close to your front heel and keep your chest hovering over it. The key is to get low with your hands and stance. This will help you skim the club through the sand.

FLARE YOUR KNEES OUT

Bowing your knees away from each other at address helps keep your lower body stable when you swing.

CHANGE CLUBS

For longer greenside shots, like I’m hitting here, you can open or close the clubface to regulate distance, but a more fail-safe option is to change clubs. For a longer greenside bunker shot, you can even go with a 9-iron. The beauty is, the technique stays the same.

DON’T LOOK AT THE BALL

Stare at a spot about an inch and a half behind the ball and never take your eyes off of it. That’s where you’ll make contact.

THUMP IT

The back side of your wedge—the bounce—is your best friend. It should strike the sand first, and you should hear a loud thump when it does.

LET YOUR DOMINANT HAND CONTROL THE SHOT

Around the ball, it feels like my left hand stops, and my right hand passes it and keeps moving up and across my body (above). Don’t stop at impact. —With Ron Kaspriske

PATRICK REED, top 20 in sand saves over the past three seasons on the PGA Tour, gets up and down from greenside bunkers three out of every five attempts.

DAY AT THE BEACH

The average sand-save percentage on the PGA Tour this season through late March:

< 10 Yards 54.6%

10-20 Yards 53.1%

20-30 Yards 49.6%

30+ Yards 32%