Ride a wave out of the sand
By T.J. TOMASI
Your ball is in the middle of a greenside bunker. Assuming that you have a decent lie in the sand, it’s time for a good, old-fashioned, garden-variety sand shot, where you open your stance, aim the clubface at the target, then swing down your open shoulder line and … most of the time, the average player who knows all this pulls the ball way left of the pin. Why is this mistake so common?
A lot of golf instruction either glosses over or completely ignores the one thing you really have to remember when you’re trying to hit a ball out of the sand: Always open the clubface before you finalize your grip on the club. If you take your grip first and then just roll your arms to the right to open the clubface, your arms will simply roll back to the left through impact, which will return the clubface to square, or even worse, close the face. Hence the pull.
Here’s how to avoid this problem. When you first grip your club in the bunker, assuming you are right-handed, turn your hands well to the left on the handle of your sand wedge. You literally want the thumb on your left hand to be sitting on the left side of the grip; then your right hand should come over the top of the handle and join the left as it normally would. Now, just turn your left thumb (and the handle of the club) back to the right so that it’s sitting in a normal position on the top of the club.
With your weight anchored on your left foot throughout the swing, use only upper-body rotation to move the club. Don’t allow your right forearm to finish on top of your left forearm, as you would in a normal swing. Let your chest swing the club back along your shoulder line and then simply continue this rotation through impact to a full, high finish.
The key, once again, is to not allow your forearms to rotate. The ball should ride up and out of the bunker on a wave of sand.