For most weekend golfers, the typical greenside bunker shot is already an ordeal to be avoided. Toss in a towering bunker face and an overhanging lip, and that sand shot can make you feel like you’re in a remake of Escape From Alcatraz. Good news: Freeing yourself is easier than you think. Just copy the following setup and swing adjustments, and you’ll loft the ball higher, making the most penal hazards look easy.
SETUP: GO EXTRA WIDE
Take an extra-wide stance, with your feet outside your shoulders. Dial the clubface slightly open and hold your hands as low as they can comfortably go. Then angle the shaft back so that the grip end of the club is clearly behind the ball, pointing just to the right of your belly button. This will make it easier to throw the clubhead under the ball, which will add much-needed loft to the shot.
SWING: GO EXTRA STEEP
As you start back, pick the club up steeply with your arms, quickly pointing the clubhead to the sky. Don’t worry about a big shoulder turn or getting your arms to a certain position—this shot is all about the angle of attack. From the top, swing down steeply along your stance line, throwing the clubhead under the ball with nice speed. As the club exits the sand, pull your hands and the club in tight to your body. This will ensure that the clubhead travels upward through impact, adding loft to the face and extra height to your shot.