Bash or Splash Out of a Bunker
By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research
Even the best players in the world get it up and down from a greenside bunker only about 50 percent of the time. To help you pull off this difficult shot, here are some general prescriptions to guide your sand play. First, identify the type of lie to determine whether you’ll use the “splash” or “bash” technique. Unless your ball is buried, always use the splash technique because you’ll hit closer to the ball to put more spin on it, increasing your control. Many golfers use only the bash technique (the explosion shot), which puts them at a disadvantage versus the player who can read the nuances of the lie in the bunker.
Splash for Spin
–Use the bounce on the bottom of your sand wedge to take a thin layer of sand behind the ball, so the ball comes out on a cushion of sand small enough to transmit spin to the ball.
— Position the ball forward in your stance, opposite your left heel, and then open your stance while pointing the clubface slightly to the left of target.
— Swing the club with a cut-across action along your body line substantially left of target (right for a left-hander).
— During the swing, the weight stays on the front foot.
— Allow your arms and hands to finish high and keep your head and spine behind the ball.
— How much to adjust face, path, swing direction, etc., depends on the specific situation.
Bash for Run
— Use the bash technique when the ball sits in a crater of sand, and you have room to run it because it will release.
— Employ a sharp jab stroke, using the leading edge of your sand wedge to dig into the sand.
— Aim your clubface square rather than open as you do for splash shots.
— Since you want to dig into the sand behind your ball, play it back of center, toward your trail foot.
— Unlike the splash shot, keep shoulders and feet square to target line.
— Feel like your head and spine are ahead of the ball.
–- Use a restricted follow-through and play for run.
This pro player uses the splash technique, hitting close to the ball and taking minimal sand with a high follow-through. If you want to spin it, take minimal sand with an open clubface; if you want the ball to run, take a lot of sand with a square or even closed clubface.
You can tell that former world No. 1 Luke Donald is using the blast technique by the amount of sand and the lack of follow-through. There are two circumstances where the blast comes in handy: (1) your ball is buried; (2) you need the ball to run.
If you’d like to study with Dr. Tomasi and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.