If a greenside bunker shot is your worst nightmare, forget about explosion shots and play a chip from the sand. As long as the lip is no higher than your knees and you have a clean lie, you’re in business.
You can use any club from a 7-iron to a pitching wedge, depending on the height of the lip and the length of the shot. If the lip is up to the level of your knees, go with the wedge. If there’s barely any lip, you can escape with an 8- or 7-iron. Grip down 1 inch on the club, play the ball in the middle of your stance and set the club square to the target line at address. Now make an elongated chipping stroke and keep your weight left so you make ball-first contact (just like a chip off the grass). The main difference between this and traditional explosion shots is that the ball will roll more, especially with the lower-lofted clubs, so aim for the fattest part of the green.
Improve your feel for chips around the greens
The Drill: Climb the ladder
Lay a club down on the green perpendicular to your target line and about one pace from the fringe. Continue to lay a club down every yard until you reach the hole, forming a ladder. Using your 9-iron from just beyond the fringe, chip two balls that land inside the first two clubs and proceed up the ladder, each time landing two balls inside the shafts. You must land both balls between the designated step before moving onto the next one. On the way back, you can switch to a pitching or sand wedge, which will force you to hit the ball on a higher trajectory.
Why It Works:
Your eyes tell your body how much force is needed to land the ball a certain distance, and performing this drill over and over again will increase your consistency with your chipping clubs.