As a golfer there is nothing more satisfying than a solid drive from the Tee, long and straight down the fairway. However, for the majority of amateur golfers facing that shot from a greenside sand trap is scary and often a frustrating experience. Understanding the proper technique and approaching it with a positive mindset will help you get the ball out of the sand and using your putter much sooner.
First be Positive:
Look at this shot in a positive manner. Coaches and pros will all tell you the shot from the sand trap is the easiest shot in golf. Really you say! Yes, because it’s the only shot in golf that you do not want to directly strike the ball with the clubface. You simply swing the club head into the sand slightly behind and under the ball so you actually scoop the sand out from under the ball allowing the ball to fly up and out with the scoop of sand.
Assess the Lie of the Ball:
You will typically find your ball in either of the following 2 situations in a sand trap. Your ball may be sitting up on top of the sand or sunk down into the sand depending on the type of sand and how the ball entered the sand trap.
You will use a different technique and a different club for each situation.
Choosing the Proper Club:
A ball sunk down into the sand will need the club head to dig down under the ball more than if the ball is sitting up on top of the sand. Most Sand Wedges are designed with a bottom sole that is noticeably larger in surface area and has a shape like the bottom of a spoon to help prevent the clubface from digging down too much into the sand but will help glide through the sand more easily. The Sand Wedge is the best choice for the ball sitting up top of the sand. Your pitching wedge or gap wedge has a smaller surface area on the bottom sole with less of a curved shape which allows the clubface to dig down into the sand more easily for that ball that is sunk more into the sand.
Proper Swing Technique:
If the ball is sitting up on top of the sand take your sand wedge and rotate the handle until the clubface points more toward the sky (open clubface). Position your feet and body on a line that is about 45 degrees to the left of the target for a right- handed golfer (open stance). Now bend your knees slightly and shift most of your weight toward the target onto your target side foot. Focus your eyes on the sand about 2 inches behind the ball where you want the clubface to enter the sand. As you swing keep your weight on the target side foot and keep your knees and lower body quiet (still). If you want the ball to fly 10 yards from the sand you must swing the club with enough speed to hit the ball 40 yards if it was on grass.
If the ball is sunk down into the sand take your pitching wedge and setup to the ball so your clubface is square to the target (not open). Position your body so the line across your feet and hips is more parallel to the target line (square). The top of the ball will be about in the middle of your feet. Your weight is more evenly distributed on both feet. Focus your eyes on the sand slightly behind the ball where you want the clubface to enter the sand. As you swing keep your lower body quiet and swing the clubhead more on a steep angle to the ground in the backswing and again down to the sand to help get the clubface down into the sand and under the sunk ball. If you want the ball to fly out of the sand about 10 yards you must swing with enough speed to make the ball fly 60 yards if it was on grass.
Remember when you get your ball out of the sand and on the green swing your putter with the same feel and confidence you get when practicing with your “Putting Stroke Teacher” training aid. Getting your ball out of the sand and into the hole with one putt is called a “Sandy”.
The goal of The Putting Stroke Teacher is to develop the complete golfer. Our easy to use device will help you to improve your putting and ultimately lower your score. Visit our website for tips and drills to help you improve your golf game.