Easy Sand Escapes


I teach three fundamentals
for setting up to blast shots from

The first is to play the ball
opposite the instep of your left
foot. This forward position
allows your wedge to enter the
sand behind the ball as it travels along its
natural swing arc.

The second is
to grip your wedge with its
clubface wide open — rotated clockwise 45
degrees — so the flange
“bounces” off the

Lastly, aim a
little left of your
target to compensate
for the open
clubface, otherwise
you’ll miss to the right.

These basics take care of your setup. But
what about your swing? Just think “Dollarbill
long, half-tee deep.” Those are the
dimensions of a perfect sand divot.

Ken Venturi used this image for years. He
said he wasn’t trying to make a perfect divot
every time he hit a sand shot, but by
understanding the length and depth of a
perfect divot he had a perfect visual image of
what would happen if he made a good swing. Take advantage of Venturi’s wisdom
and practice it a few times.

As you
address the ball in the sand,
imagine a dollar bill with a tee
under it. Set your feet so the
back edge of the dollar bill is
in the center of your stance.

Then aim left, regrip with
the clubface open,
waggle and make your
normal wedge swing.

Your wedge should enter
the sand at the back end of the
imaginary dollar bill, cut the imaginary tee
in half as it passes under the ball, and exit
the sand at the front end of the bill.

Get more tips for your short game at the Dave Pelz Vault