Golf Sand Instruction by Gary Player and Sam Snead

Sam Snead’s golf sand instruction:

Instruction on the cardinal rules of sand trap play (explosion-type) are as follows:

  1. Settle your feet firmly, digging in, so that nothing can shift under you during the swing; also, since it’s against the rules of golf to ground your club in a trap, this will enable you to test the depth and consistency of the sand.
  2. Play the ball off the left heel from a well-open stance and with the clubface laid back as open as possible for quick loft.
  3. Let the arms and hands do the work, with little leg action; the swing is straightforward from an upright position, with plenty of wrist snap at impact.
  4. Be sure the golf club head goes down and forward and emerges with a full follow-through. If your left palm is facing downward at the finish, you’ve kept the club head open and followed through with good form.
  5. sneadsand1

Some particularly tough hazard shots you’ll meet and golf sand instruction on how I play them:

Ball in a footprint: Hit it! Added to the fact that it’s an explosion shot, the ball is rimmed around with sand and needs extra excavating. If it’s a deep depression, switch from a sand iron to the nine-iron or fairway wedge, both of which have quicker “bite”.

Ball bunkered in downhill lie at back of trap: You get these back-slope babies now and then. First, take more sand back of the ball than on the flat: dig in a good two inches behind the ball. Close the clubface a bit to conform to the sand’s contour. Play the ball back a bit, off the right heel.

Ball in level lie on shallow, firm sand and with no overhang lip: If these four situations exist, use your putter. Use a flat-arm motion, not a chop, so that the blade is parallel to the sand. If you avoid making contact on either the upswing or downswing, which would loft or mash the ball into sand, and strike squarely n the middle , the putter will take you out nicely. I keep my weight forward.

Ball at front of trap, uphill lie: Keep in mind that you’re hitting up: therefore, the club head will plow through deeper and deeper sand as it moves toward and through the ball. This means (1) you need to hit a bit closer to the golf ball than on the flat and (2) your follow-through must be especially forceful. My weight remains on the left side and I play the outside-in cut shot, as described before. The clubface stays open and square to the line of flight.

A couple of golf sand instruction tips for working on your sand wedge game I’ve used:Ralph Guldahl, a great bunker player, liked to break a sand “slump” by practicing dummy swings in which he aimed to take divots of equal size. He wanted his sand divots to be about six inches long and three-quarters of an inch deep. Then “Ralph dropped a ball, took real shots with the same swing.

To improve accuracy at hitting behind the ball, draw a line two inches behind the all or sink a tee. Now aim for these targets, forgetting the ball.

Golf sand instruction illustration:

Gary Player’s golf sand instruction for the correct stance with relation to the ball and the direction you want to go for different sand shots:

A) Basic golf sand shot – stance is open, left foot facing target considerably and right slightly. Ball is played off left foot. Club face is opened to the right and enters sand about 2″ behind ball.

B) Buried lie in the sand – stance is square with only left foot pointed slightly toward target. Ball played farther back in stance with clubface square. Club again enters sand about 2″ behind ball.

C) Shot from wet sand – same stance and ball placement as for basic sand shot, and clubface opened to right. Only difference is that club enters sand farther behind ball -about 3 inches- because it will not cut as deeply in wet sand.

D) Uphill shot in sand – same as basic shot except that ball played a bit farther back in stance -note line going to left heel- and club enters sand closer to ball -about 1″ from it- player must be extra sure to move club through sand on this shot since it must cut through more sand.

E) Downhill in sand – same as basic except ball played even farther forward in stance -note line going to toe- and club to enter sand farther behind ball- about 3″, , depending on incline of slope.

  • Charlie says:

    Thanks for the instruction. Quick and to the point. I believe it will help me!!

  • reg shanhan says:

    Thanks for the Instructions . Playing out of Bunkers has been a Problem for me foe quite awhile

  • Craig says:

    HI Kelvin,
    Thanks for writing. I’m not a swing instructor or PGA pro. I do present some lessons from others who are, so you can gain some benefit from their mechanics lessons. Every teacher is different so you have to pick and choose who to follow for that type of instruction. I’ll keep bringing you more of that but I’m not qualified to teach sand shot instruction.
    Greens and fairways,

  • kelvin meyler says:

    Craig, you rally need to make it simple for the average once per week working guy. A video of each shot is the simple answer.

  • […] Spend a session in the sand At least one time this season for a half hour, practice hitting balls out of sand You can even do this at the beach, lake, or your grandkids sandbox. See my sand instruction page […]

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