Lay the Face Open
For some reason, many amateur golfers have trouble taking this tip to heart. When you set up for the average explosion shot out of a bunker – especially one where you need to clear a tall lip – you need to lay the face of your wedge wide open at address.
The club head should be open far enough to where you could set a bottle of water on the face and it would stand up without a problem. Once the face is laid open in this manner, you will be ready to make your swing.
Why is this important? It’s all about maximizing loft.
You want the club to cut through the sand, sliding under the ball and providing enough power for the sand itself to lift the ball onto the green. If you were to keep the face square, the club head would plow the sand, the ball would come out low, and you’d never get out on your first try.
It might look strange to play this kind of shot with a wide open face at first, but stick with it until you become comfortable.
Put the Hammer Down
You can’t be gentle with this kind of golf shot. If you aren’t willing to swing aggressively through the sand, you aren’t going to get the ball up high enough to clear the lip.
You need to make a hard swing, using both body rotation and wrist action to propel the club head through the sand and into the finish. If we had to identify one single cause as being the most common reason for failed bunker shots, it is simply that most golfers don’t swing hard enough.
Yes, you are already close to the target when you are in a greenside bunker.
No, that does not mean you can get away with a soft swing.
This is another thing you can improve on just by practicing a few times. As you learn how to swing harder in the sand, you will find that the ball actually doesn’t go very far as a result of your hard swings. Most of the energy of the swing is eaten up by the density of the sand.
Also, since the club face is laid wide open, the shot is going to spend a lot of its energy climbing into the air.
Make a hard swing with an open face and you will start to see results like the bunker shots you have seen professional golfers hit on TV.