PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

Short Game

Set Up For Success In The Sand

By Sean Foley Photos by Dom Furore
April 18, 2013

The best way to hit a greenside bunker shot is to open your stance and swing along your toe line. Here's why: Sand wedges are designed with a bulge on the back side of the clubhead that allows them to enter the sand behind a ball and skim under it without digging too deep. To fully utilize that bulge--known as the bounce--you have to set the clubface so it's pointing right of your target. In the top photo here, the yellow arrow indicates the face position, and the orange arrow is my target line.

Once you open the face to expose the bounce, you have to make another adjustment to keep the shot from flying too far to the right. To get the ball to go where you want it to, adjust your stance (blue arrow) so it's pointing as far to the left of your target as the face is pointing to the right. Then swing the club along your toe line. That's how you cut across the ball and hit it straight.


Think Face First

A lot of amateurs grip the club and then make adjustments to the clubface before they swing. This is really going to hurt your accuracy. It should be the other way around--especially in the bunker. Once you get your stance in the sand, open the face and then take your normal grip.

SEAN FOLEY, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, is based at the Core Golf Junior Academy near Orlando.