Before the tip, a brief history lesson:
Gene Sarazen, aka “The Squire,” was one of just five golfers to win all four of golf’s professional major championships. His double-eagle on the 15th hole in the final round of the 1935 Masters is arguably the greatest shot in history. Yet Sarazen’s most lasting achievement may have been his invention of the sand wedge. By adding “bounce” to the bottom of a conventional wedge, Sarazen created a club that wouldn’t dig into the sand, making it much easier to escape bunkers.
But bounce is no good if you don’t use it properly. When the clubhead enters the sand on a steep angle, the leading edge digs and the bounce is essentially nullified. A shallower entry angle, with the clubface open, exposes the bounce so the clubhead slides through the sand.
If you tend to stick the club into the sand, try this simple alteration:
- Take your normal grip with the clubface square.
- Relax your left (top) hand and rotate your right hand and clubface to the right. The right palm should now point up.
- Hit the shot with your normal action, aiming for a spot a couple of inches behind the ball.
This method serves a couple of purposes: 1) It prevents the hands from rolling over before impact, keeping the blade open and the bounce exposed, and 2) It creates a shallower approach angle into the sand.
Improved bunker play really can be as simple as a minor grip change. Try it and see.