Rant about Sand Wedges and Getting Out of Bunkers

One of my big goals for 2020 is to get better out of the sand. Technique is obviously paramount, but there are some interesting options for sand wedges on the market and I’m not sure I fully understand them. First, here is my thought process about greenside bunkers:

“Slap” the ground 1" behind the ball with a more wristy pitch swing and accelerate through the ball. I open the face before gripping the club, squat a bit and open my stance (I don’t know why I open my stance tbh), then cut through the ball a bit left of the target. Fine, but I still struggle with actually hitting 1" behind the ball, and over correct a lot of the time and take too much sand. I’d say i’m making a mess out of the bunker 1/3 times. When I practice bunker shots, I’m usually very solid after the first 2-3 warm up shots, but taking that to the course is challenging.

I have been using a Vokey SM6 K-grind 60.12 and I am quite solid with the club for pitching from the grass. I remember seeing it described as “the ultimate bunker wedge” because of the shape of the grind, but I’ve also read Vokeys are for low-handicappers (I’m a 13-14). How can a bunker club be for a low handicapper? You have your high handicap options like Sure-Out and Smart Sole, but I don’t think I fully understand how these work, if they well help me game, or if you should alter your technique when using these wide sole specialty clubs.

Anyway, what do you think my problem is and do you think throwing cash at a new club can solve it or is it just mental/lack of practice?

there’s an entire industry built on the premise of the first half, and a deep truth lurking in the second

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I think with sand shots, the biggest factor by far is the lie and condition of the sand itself.

Too often I try to hit a “slap” shot when the sand is too firm and thin it, and then try the same “slap” shot if soft fluffy sand and barely get out of the trap.

Maybe focus more on visualizing the shot you want to hit and then try to use the swing to get the shot you want.

Edit: and to answer your question regarding your club, your K grind is perfectly fine. Focus on fixing your mental side.

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Which is tough because when you practice it’s one set of conditions

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Here’s Rory McIlroy giving advice to Justin Timberlake about hitting out of a bunker, and honestly, I think it’s sort of brilliant.

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True!

Also, maybe you’re swinging too hard? I watched Tommy Fleetwood hit bunker shots before the PGA this year and the guy barely swings hard. The smoother you swing, the easier it is to keep your balance, which is tough in sand.

agree with @weirdfishes, you have to read the sand and the lie… the slap can work in some situations…but often I have found the most important component to be the accelerated follow through.

The sure-out type clubs described are for those who are not trying to improve their game…just want a band-aid. I think you are on the right track for improving.

Practice in wet sand, fluffy sand, unraked sand, downslopes etc…as much as you can All about learning to FEEL what the particular bounce of YOUR club is capable of and what it wont do.

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+1 for this, going to say that you shouldn’t automatically pull your 60 just because you’re in the sand

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So what’s the alternative to the slap shot and when should it be applied? I’ve gotten good at chipping out of wet sand.

This is a great point too. I’m a mediocre golfer but solid around the greens, and few things have helped more than taking less loft everywhere around the greens.

It is so important to become best friends with your bounce…on a tight lie, practice it open shut forward, back, learn all of its likes and dislikes, then when in the sand you have an idea of how the tool works.

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swinging too hard is a fix that needs application all over the amateur game, :+1:

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Whatever works best for you!

If you watch the pros, they all have different techniques. Some don’t open their stance, some open the face like crazy, and some just try to hit normal chips.

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Swinging in control has done wonders for my driving, point taken

when I hear this i think wrist flip and die in the ground…May not be what you are intending . I like to have fairly stiff wrists in sand. medium length back swing with stiff arms and HIGH follow through. Like everything you hate about Jason Day, do in the bunker.

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Watching the LPGA really opened my eyes to this…tempo tempo tempo

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i like to think about short swing but full finish with my normal acceleration, this works well anytime i want to hit a spinnier shot

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i could talk forever about swings on the LPGA. key word efficiency. they blow the men away.

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Ehh not sure I agree with this. If you’re playing pro golf, your swing is efficient.

I think it’s trying to “skid” the bounce of the club through the sand. Hmm it’s actually hard to describe now that I think about it.