Be a sand master

DEREK INGRAM

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

What an advantage it is to be a great sand player. PGA Tour players and top amateurs will often refer to greenside sand traps as "prepared scoring opportunities."

With a good sand wedge with 10 to 14 degrees of bounce and the correct technique -- you to will be on your way to being a sand master.

To get started, the ball position should be forward in the stance, basically off the front foot for a left-handed golfer.

The hands should be even with or slightly behind the club head and the spine tilted toward the target, ensuring the club will enter the sand and have the club bounce, skid or slide along the sand. Target a line in the sand about two to three inches behind the ball, indicating where you should enter the sand.

The feet, hips and shoulders are aimed slightly left of the flag but the clubface is aimed directly at the flag. Dig your feet into the sand for stability and to feel how thick and deep the sand is.

With this set up, take a full, smooth, rhythmical swing, enter the sand two to three inches behind the ball and gently accelerate into a full finish. Tightening up your upper body is the enemy on this shot so focus on maintaining a light grip.

How do you hit short and long sand shots consistently? Always take the same amount of sand but determine the distance the shot travels by either increasing the speed in your swing for longer sand shots or decreasing the speed in your swing for short sand shots. You can also use your 60 degree lob wedge for short sand shots and a pitching wedge for longer sand shots, applying the same technique as above.

Practice this technique and you will soon be call sand traps "prepared scoring opportunities," as well and you will be getting it up and down much more frequently.

Derek Ingram is the Head Teaching Professional at the Elmhurst Golf and Country Club in Winnipeg. He is a two time winner of the Canadian PGA's Teacher of the Year award and recognized as one of the top golf instructors in North America. You can sign up for his newsletter or get more information on lessons, clinics, golf schools and corporate outings at www.derekingram.com.


Videos

Photos