SAND PLAY GREENSIDE

Strategy dot Address dot Whole Swing dot Feel

Ai Miyazato Blasts from Bunker for an Eagle 3

As Ai Miyazato shows, you can hole out your greenside sand shots with proper technique. Be a star from the bunkers by following some key fundamentals of greenside sand play.

  1. Aim for a specific landing spot on the green so your ball rolls to the hole like a putt. Play your sand shots to roll 3' past the hole, so you will have a chance to hole them out.
  2. Dig your feet 1" into the sand to ensure good footing and a stable lower body base.
  3. Open the face of your sand wedge 1/8, 1/4, or 1/2 depending on the conditions of the shot. The more relatively open you must set the face of the club to the target line if the sand is softer, the lip of the bunker is higher, or you have less green to stop the ball after it lands.
  4. Make your swing size 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, or full depending on the distance you must fly the ball, the softness of the sand, and how well your ball is sitting up or down in the sand. A larger swing is needed if the shot is longer, the sand is softer, or your ball is sitting down more in the sand.
  5. Your clubhead must enter the sand about 1" behind the ball and move forward on the follow-through at a depth of about 2", so position the ball about 1" farther forward in your stance than you would for a pitch shot from the same distance.
  6. Swing 3 times harder on the downswing than you would for a pitch shot from the same distance. The sand presents much more resistance for your clubhead to cut through than most grass lies.
  7. Match the length of your follow-through to the length of your backswing, since there is a tendency to not accelerate the clubhead through impact and follow through on a sand shot.

Here is an example swing key from the Sand Play Greenside chapter of Modern Golf Thoughts:

CLUBHEAD MUST ENTER SAND 1" BEHIND THE BALL

Position the ball 1" farther forward in your stance than you would play the ball for a pitch shot from the same location. Address the spot in the sand 1" behind the ball because that is where your clubhead must enter the sand. Then, take your normal swing at the spot 1" behind the ball. Your clubhead strikes and cuts through the sand, and the sand pushes the ball out of the bunker.

The Sand Play Greenside chapter of Modern Golf Thoughts has 21 swing keys in these sections--Strategy / Address / Whole Swing / Feel.

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