Here we are going to discuss how to set up correctly and swing to play really effective greenside bunker shots.
The priority when playing a bunker shot is to create height with the ball to get it over the bunker face, not distance. To achieve this, play the shot with your sand iron or even your lob wedge if you carry one as these are the most loft clubs in your golf bag and will hit the ball highest. To generate even more height with your club, open the club face. This means rotate the club handle to the right and you will see that the club face lies back more. Now hold the handle of the club. When you open the club face the face now aims to the right more than usual so aim the club face at your target by rotating your feet and body to the left enough so that the club face aims at the target again.
Take your stance up with the ball in the middle of your feet and now wriggle your feet into the sand. You need to do this for three reasons. Firstly, it allows you to lower yourself into the sand so that you get lower than the surface. This is important because when you play a greenside bunker shot, you need to hit the sand and slide the club head through the ball under the sand, so lowering your feet into the surface encourages you to do this. Wriggling your feet into the sand also gives you a stable and firmer base to swing from and it gives you the opportunity to discover the resistance that the sand has for when you play the shot, because again your club head is going to travel through the sand so it will give you an idea of how firmly to swing the club head.
As you make your backswing, hinge your wrists early during the movement so that you create a right angle between your left arm and the club shaft (for right handed golfers). This will create height in the club head so that you can swing the club head downwards towards the sand and into the surface. Keep your weight even as you swing back and work on striking the sand two inches before the ball as you rotate your body towards the target. Keep this rotation towards the target going as you slide the club head through the sand under the ball and the sand will force the ball forwards and upwards and out of the bunker. Finish with your weight on your left side, your right heel off the sand and the club head higher than the top of the flag.
Follow these tips and you will be hitting really high greenside bunker shots accurately at the flag in no time.