Greenside bunker shots are not difficult and should be looked at as fairly simple if you understand some clear fundamentals. Your goal should be to blast a shallow patch of sand about the length of a dollar bill from under the golf ball. The sand that the ball rests on actually propels the ball out of the bunker and onto the green. It is basically a simple shot. It is the only shot in golf where the club does not directly strike the ball. The three objectives of a greenside bunker shot are:
Dig your feet into the sand about ¾ of an inch deep and keep your head steady during the shot. Digging your feet in helps regulate the depth of your divot and steadying your head helps you enter the sand in the same spot consistently.
Splash sand out of the bunker from under the ball. Imagine the sand flying out of the bunker before you hit your bunker shots. If the sand stays in the bunker, so will the ball. It is important to understand that the sand that the ball rests on in the bunker is what propels the ball out of the bunker and onto the green. It’s that simple.
For most bunker shots, it is important to stay shallow in the sand. The average depth of your divots in the sand should be ¾ on an inch to one inch deep. A great drill to work on when practicing out of the bunkers is to bury a 2” by 4” ¾ of an inch deep, under the sand in the bunker. Place a ball on the sand above the 2” by 4” in the middle of the board. Practice hitting shots with this drill and make sure to barely touch the board under the ball. This will help you find the right depth of your divots in the sand. It is important to make sure you know where the board is buried exactly. You do not want to hit an edge of the board and risk hurting your wrists.
Learn to use the bounce of your sand wedge. Use the bounce to control how deep your wedge will enter the sand. If you hit down into the sand and dig with the leading edge, the club will dig too deep. Using the bounce will help shallow the depth of impact and make the ball come out of the bunker every time.
Learn to make the bottom of your swing consistent. This will enable you to position the ball properly within your stance. The ball should be placed directly opposite your left chest, about 2 inches in front of your chest. The image is that the ball is placed on the center of a dollar bill. The club should enter the sand 2 inches behind the ball, just opposite your sternum (the center of your chest). The club should continue through the sand, under the ball and exit about 2 ½ inches past the ball. Therefore, the total divot should be about the length of a dollar bill.