To some amateur golfers, the sand shots produced on a consistent basis by professional golfers seem a bit like magic.

List of Four Greenside Bunker Techniques

Somehow, the pros just make a big swing and the ball seems to pop up out of the sand and onto the green, time after time. How do they do it? Well, it’s certainly not magic, and it actually isn’t all that difficult. If you are willing to take a bit of time in order to learn the basics of sound bunker technique, you can hit these kinds of shots in the not-too-distant future.

Let’s take a moment to look at a list of the key elements should be including in your greenside bunker play.

  • A big swing. When talking about the standard ‘explosion’ shot from a greenside bunker, you are going to need to make a big swing. This is important because the sand is going to provide a significant amount of resistance when you try to swing the club through the sand. As the club enters the sand, it is going to quickly slow down, robbing you of much of the power you built up in the downswing. Since you are trying to hit the sand behind the ball, and not the ball itself, only a small portion of the energy of the swing is going to be transferred from the club head to the ball. In the end, all of that means you need to make a big swing even though you are hitting a short shot. Building up trust in the fact that you can swing big and only hit the ball a short distance is one of your main challenges.
  • An open club face. You need to get the ball up into the air quickly on most greenside bunker shots. To do so, you are going to want to set up with the club face dramatically open at address. Even though the club you are using probably has 55* or even 60* loft, you will still want to lay it open even further. This point, just like the previous point, comes down to trust. You need to trust the fact that the ball will pop up into the air and onto the green when using an open face. Some golfers have trouble believing this will work, so they keep the face in a square position and they wind up plowing far too much sand as a result. Work on playing shots with an open face during practice so you can more easily trust this technique out on the course.
  • An open stance. To go along with your open club face, try using an open stance in order to promote an outside-in swing path. This kind of path is going to be another element which will help you get the ball in the air quickly. As an added bonus, swinging across the ball from outside-in should help you add spin to the shot. The combination of a high shot that has plenty of backspin is going to be frequently useful when you find yourself stuck in a greenside trap.
  • Aggressive right hand through the hitting area. At the bottom of the swing, you should make sure that your right hand is working hard to propel the club head through the sand. If you use too much right hand in your regular swing, you run the risk of hitting a slice. That isn’t a concern here, however, so you can use your right hand to help you lob the ball up and out of the trap.

When you add it all up, the proper technique to use on your greenside bunker shots isn’t particularly complicated. It is different than the technique you use when playing most of your shots from the grass, however, so you do need to make an effort to practice this type of shot regularly. With consistent practice, you should find that you get more and more comfortable with how these shots work, and any mystery surrounding the greenside bunker shot will be stripped away.