There’s a reason your sand wedge is the heaviest club in your bag: it has the most work to do with getting your ball out of that bunker. We’ve all been there before – the dreaded sand trap. At one time or another, all players end up in the sand – yes, all players. The best golfers are those who can hit the ball out of the sand and seamlessly put it close to the pin.
Coming in at nearly 20 ounces, the sand wedge is not only the heaviest iron in your bag, it also has the highest loft at approximately 56 degrees. While it’s not a distance hitting club, the average distance ranges from 40 to 100 yards, depending on level of play.
Tips on Hitting Your Sand Wedge Like a Pro
It’s All About the Swing: First things first – after your ball lands in a sand trap, the one thing you need to remember is to not directly hit the ball. Your goal is to hit the sand around the ball, essentially thrusting the ball onto the green. Your golf swing should be similar to your normal shot: solid through the sand yet smooth and fluid. However, the harder you swing a sand wedge, the higher the ball flies and the faster it stops. Aim your ball toward a spot closer to your target. Swinging hard generates enough speed to yield a soft shot that should stop swiftly on the green.
Before you swing your sand wedge, set the club face wide open and adjust your grip, so your right hand is shifted toward the top of your club. This is different from your normal grip. Lower your hands and during your backswing, hinge the club early, swinging through aggressively and with good speed. Try for an aggressive downward swing that moves left and inside – this should propel your ball exactly where it needs to go on the green.
Food for thought… “After all these years, it’s still embarrassing for me to play on the American golf tour. Like the time I asked my caddie for a sand wedge and he came back ten minutes later with a ham on rye.” – Chi Chi Rodriguez, regarding his Puerto Rican accent.
At the end of the day, remember these two things about hitting your ball out of the sand trap: speed and loft. Without speed, you'll land your club in the sand, moving the ball forward a little in the sand, and you’ll have to hit the shot again. Check out more tips for excelling at your golf game.