The “bounce” on your sand wedge is the flange on the sole that extends below the leading edge. It holds the key to you becoming a consistent bunker player. Here’s how to bounce your way onto the green.
Tilt the grip
Play the ball an inch or two inside your left heel, and set up with the grip of the club pointed an inch or so right of your belt buckle. You’ll know you’ve got the right position if the club shaft is roughly parallel to your left leg. This opens the clubface and sets the bounce of your wedge farther down, so it hovers just above the sand. With your wedge’s bounce preset like this, you’ll be able to “thump” the sand at the bottom of your swing.
Lead with your hands
On the downswing, lead the club into impact with your hands, which allows the bounce to have maximum effect. Again, it should be a “thump,” not a “thud.” The bounce prevents the club from digging too deep into the sand, so don’t worry about hitting the shot fat. Go ahead and make an aggressive swing, and follow through to your left shoulder. The ball will float out on a cushion of sand and then you can start worrying about your putt.
Brad Redding is director of instruction at the Golf Academy at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach, S.C.