The fundamentals for
blasting from the sand
are well documented:
play the ball forward
in your stance, open your
clubface at address, aim left of
your target and swing through
to a full finish. Following these
basics allows your wedge to
scoot under and past the ball,
lifting it up high and spinning
onto the green.
That is, when you have a
good lie in the sand.
The situation changes when
you’re plugged in heavy or wet
sand. In these conditions, your
club has almost zero chance of
scooping under the ball while
maintaining its speed, robbing
you of the spin and lift you
need to get the ball on the green.
If you open your clubface, you
risk bouncing off the sand, hitting the top of the ball
and burying it deeper into the bunker.
The correct escape technique for this situation is
the “Cock-and-Pop” swing. At address, toe in your
clubface slightly to help the clubhead dig into the sand,
and then aim the face at your target with the ball in
the center of your stance. As you
start your backswing, cock your
wrists quickly and completely.
Stop your backswing at threequarters
and then smack the
club into the back of the ball as
cleanly and firmly as possible
(photo, left). This will drive the
ball forward into the sand in
front of it. What you get is a soft
shot with very little backspin —
this one will roll out on you. For
the best results, use your highestlofted
wedge — I recommend a 64-degree model.
Don’t worry if your clubhead stops after impact. In
fact, the longer your follow-through, the lower the
ball will launch and the farther it will roll.