Follow the tips below, practice 30 minutes a week and you'll see lower scores right away.
1. FORWARD BALL POSITION
Burn this into your brain. Note the ball position shown by the yellow dots in the photos below. It's opposite my left instep. That's way forward of your normal ball position for fairway shots. Memorize this forward-ball position image, and use it for all clean lies in the sand when you need to blast out.
2. GET THE "BOUNCE AND SCOOT"
See how my club scoots past the ball shortly after it bounces through impact, whether I'm using a real ball from the sand on the course or the almostGOLF practice ball from a Bunkerboard or Positionmat (more on these later). This is the key to distance control from the sand. To get it, turn your clubface open at address and try to hold it open as you swing through.
3. PRACTICE OUT BACK
Pick up a small bag of sand the next time you're at Home Depot or Lowe's, then buy some almostGOLF practice balls ($12.99, p3golf.com) and something hard that you can hit off.
In our schools we use Bunkerboards and Positionmats ($99.95 and $84.50; pelzgolf.com), but a flat cookie tray with a clubface-sized pile of sand on it will do the trick. You only need one scoop of sand for each shot. Set the ball on top of the pile of sand and remember to position it way forward in your stance, lay your clubface open and swing through impact with acceleration. You have to swing through aggressively so you get the bounce and scoot, and some backspin. Your shots will fly a little to the right of your target due to the open clubface, so aim a little left as you set up.