Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Swing Guru - "Get me out of this sand trap!"

This session of Swing Guru 'Question and Answer' is sponsored in part by CSN Stores.  CSN Stores has over 200 websites ranging from console tables to fitness and sports equipment.

Question: I tend to avoid sand traps at all cost. I seem to be lacking a lot of consistency, sometimes I'll chunk it and sometimes I'll pick it clean out. Any advice for becoming a better and more consistent sand player?

Part of good course management strategy is to play to your strengths and avoid weaknesses. So there’s nothing wrong with trying to avoid them, and it may be smarter to lay up short of a bunker than to attempt a high risk shot over one. But, with that said, there are some techniques that you can use to improve your bunker play. I’m assuming your main struggles are with greenside bunkers, so this is what these techniques apply to.
  • Check your equipment. The modern sand wedge is specifically designed to prevent it from digging into the sand. So if you’re using your pitching wedge, or other club, it may be time for an upgrade.
  • Remember that the greenside bunker shot is called a blast for a reason. You need to intentionally hit behind the ball, using a full swing, and let the sand blast the ball out of the sand.
  • To accomplish this, start with an open stance and your weight almost 100% forward, toward your target.
  • Open the club face, and with the ball placed a bit farther forward in your stance (to ensure you hit behind it), accelerate the club through the sand and finish the swing facing the target with all of your weight on your left side.
Accelerating the club through the sand is key to not only getting the ball out, but also to the distance control. Ideally you want to hit it close, right? When done properly, you’ll hear a THUMP sound when the club hits the sand. If you’ve accelerated the club properly, you’ll splash some sand out of the bunker. If the sand doesn’t get out of the bunker, chances are the ball won’t either. A good rule of thumb for distance control is to swing as hard as you would for a shot that is three times as long as the bunker shot. This means that if you’re 20 yards from the hole, you’ll want to swing as hard as you would on a 60 yard shot from the fairway. The sand conditions will affect this as soft sand requires a harder swing than does firm sand. So be sure to practice these shots to get a feel for it. Listen for the THUMP and be sure to splash the sand out of the bunker.

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This article was written by Brant Kasbohm.  Brant is the Director of Instruction for, a company that provides revolutionary video swing analysis.  Send your questions in to:, or for a more in depth review of your game, visit: