Open it up

Open the clubface and then take your normal grip, but quite high on the handle as you want a fairly long swing despite it only being a short shot.

Then shift your body alignment – feet, hips and shoulders – to the left, taking quite a wide stance, and shuffling your feet in a bit for stability.

Just how open both clubface and body alignment should be will depend on the texture of the sand, the distance required and so on but, as a broad rule, the ball is going to come out pretty much halfway between where you point the clubface and where you’ve aligned your body

 

Coax it out

A lot of golfers know to open the clubface and align themselves left of target, but they then attack the ball as though a nasty snake has appeared and they’re desperately trying to chop its head off, rather than loving, coaxing or cajoling it out.

The club then either stops with little follow-through or they have a great lurch at it, blading it 60 yards beyond the green.

‘Angle of attack’ is the common term, but it may be wiser to think of it as ‘angle of approach’ as the word ‘attack’ tends to convey aggression, whereas greenside bunker shots are really about length of swing rather being fast or aggressive with a swish with your hands and arms.

 

Steep back, shallow through

The key to a good bunker splash shot is to generate an ideal angle of approach so the club passes under the ball on a very shallow angle.

Much of this is dictated by your set-up – getting the ball far enough forward in your stance, so the club descends steeply before shallowing out through impact.

Golfers tend to think they must attack the ball steeply and aggressively, getting mixed up between swing plane – the angle that the club swings round the body – which is quite steep, and the club’s passage through the sand at impact, which has to shallow out so you don’t take too much sand.

 

Distance control

If you’re fairly new to the game the priority is simply getting it out. But once you want to start controlling distance too, there are different ways – perhaps varying the amount of sand you take, or varying the length of swing as many good players do, swinging back to ten o’clock and through to two o’clock on an imaginary clock face, or from nine o’clock to three o’clock.

But on very short shots, gripping down the handle is great… as long as you also flex the knees a bit more.

If you don’t, you’ll become too bent over from the hips, your spine angle will become too horizontal, and the angle of approach too steep.

So on shorter splash shots, hold further down the handle, widen the stance slightly and flex your knees more to keep your spine angle reasonably vertical and to promote a shallow slide under the ball.