If you’re the kind of golfer who makes greenside bunker shots look easy, but back up 15 to 20 yards and find it almost impossible to get the ball to the hole, it’s time to understand technique.
Why? Because your greenside maneuver doesn't generate the necessary clubhead speed to get the ball close from 30 or 40 yards. You need more speed for longer blasts, and the way to get it is to make the following two swing adjustments.
STEP 1: SWING BIG
Make a full turn as though you were trying to hit a full 7-iron—you should turn until your left shoulder is under your chin and your back is facing the target. Most amateurs don't make a big enough backswing on these shots and instead try to muscle the ball out of the sand. That's how you take too much sand and come up way short of the hole. Make a big turn both back and through—pretend you have 140 yards to the pin, rather than 40.
STEP 2: EXTEND THE RIGHT ELBOW
Unlike a short or mid-range greenside bunker shot, you want the clubhead to turn over and release, which will give you more distance. To encourage a full release, straighten your right arm through the hitting area. Extending the right elbow will allow the clubhead to accelerate faster through the sand, hitting the ball the required distance.