An Awesome Sand Save in Golf

The approach shot to a green at the Hampton Court Palace Golf Course.

The approach shot to a green at the Hampton Court Palace Golf Course.

Sand traps are not to be feared! They are designed to challenge the average golfer, increase the difficulty of approach shots, or force players to hit a different club off the tee! Sand traps do, however, cause many problems for the amateur player who does not understand the proper technique to play out of the sand. Most inexperienced players try to pick instead of blasting the ball out of the trap. Their cautious approach often results in a failed attempt to hit the ball out of the sand trap. Sometimes rooted in fear, their repeated failure to make that all important successful shot haunts them every time they enter the beach!

Through the years, I have tried many techniques to successfully extricate myself from sand traps. I have tried putting the ball, to half-swinging my club, to swinging as hard as I can with little success of landing the ball near to the pin. Through all my trials and tribulations, I have found three key ‘need to know’ points that result in excellent sand shots. So, I thought I would share with them you and see what you think.

Bend your knees. It is important to keep your knees bent throughout the entire shot. By keeping your knees bent, it allows the club face to slide under the ball and pop it out of the sand. Additionally, keeping your knees bent will allow you to maintain your balance throughout the entire shot, thus promoting a consistent and repeatable golf swing.

Follow Through. Many amateurs have the tendency to stop their follow through during a sand shot. This restrictive movement reduces the power generated by your golf swing. And in turn, results in the ball staying in the hazard or barely making it over the lip of the sand trap. Following through will help you consistently generate the power required to aggressively hit the ball out of the sand trap.

Hit Behind the Ball. Hitting behind the ball in a sand trap is a must! I recommend hitting about 2 inches behind the ball for most consistent results. The distance the ball travels after contact is determined by the depth of the club in the sand. It is important to hit behind the ball in the bunker because it promotes a full swing and consistent results.

From both videos, taken at the Hampton Court Palace Golf Course just outside London, UK, the three important aspects of playing a bunker shot mentioned above are obvious. My friend and I had two different types of bunker shots, but our technique was exactly the same. Anyone can play consistent bunker shots. All it takes is bending your knees, following through, hitting behind the ball and of course, a little practice.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

8 thoughts on “An Awesome Sand Save in Golf

  1. Pingback: Saving Strokes in Golf – The Grateful Golfer

  2. Jim,
    It remains the one area of my game I don’t trust. And as a result my goals are too modest. It’s priority one to address next spring after the ice and snow are gone. BTW, your UK pics are great. Thanks for the fundamental refresher!



  3. Jim,

    Great tips! Improving my sand game this season was one of my goals, and with the help of my coach, we did achieve that. We touched on some of your points above. Like other aspects of the short game for me, a lot of it comes down to practice and confidence once proper technique is established. Maintaining that “feel” in the bunkers to have the confidence to blast it out like you need to. It’s amazing how it can open up your whole game when you have the confidence to routinely get it up and down from the sand.



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