This is one of those bunker shots where you think to yourself, How am I gonna get anywhere near the hole? First, accept that it’s OK to hit the ball past the flag. The worst thing you can do is get too cute and have the same shot again. Second, realise that with enough loft, you can swing with some speed and still hit a short shot.
Before you even take your grip, turn the clubface open 30 or 40 degrees. Then put your top hand on with the thumb straight down the handle, not turned away from the target like a normal grip. Play the ball up in your stance, in line with your front foot, and lean the shaft away from the target. These moves will add loft and help soften the shot.
The swing should be about halfway back and through. As you start the swing, turn the face more open by cupping your left wrist. Feel the face rolling open so the toe points behind you [top]. Maintain this cupped wrist position the rest of the way through.
On the downswing, imagine you’re throwing the clubhead through the sand with your right hand [above]. Think of it as a skimming action where you enter the sand a few inches behind the ball and slide the face under it. That motion of the clubhead passing your hands will maximise loft at impact.
“Let the clubhead pass your hands through impact.”
Last thing: don’t decelerate. You’ve built enough loft into the shot to give it a nice swipe without fear.
– Butch Harmon is based at Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson, Nevada and he spoke with Peter Morrice