Category Archives: golf shots

How to hit a sand wedge from the fairway – part two


“The hardest shot in golf is a mashie at 90 yards from the green, where the ball has to be played against an oak tree, bounces back into a sand trap, hits a stone, bounces on the green and then rolls into the cup. That shot is so difficult I have made it only once.”Zeppo Marx

By Ian Hardie

In the post ‘How to hit a sand wedge from the fairway’ I discussed the fact that

Most golfers are reasonably capable with their short iron shots that they play from the fairway

Generally it’s because they are playing shots with a shorter and softer action than they use with the other clubs in the bag

Until they try and use a sand wedge from the fairway

When all of a sudden, a different sort of shot seems to appear from nowhere

A shot they completely mess up

The reason why as you may remember was due to the single reason that makes a sand wedge so effective out of the sand

As well as being good for most shots out of heavy rough

The bounce on the sole of the sand wedge

A design feature which means that the leading edge (the front bit) of the club is higher than the trailing edge of the club (the bit down the back at the bottom)

Here’s a good example of what I’m talking about;


In ‘How to hit a sand wedge from the fairway’ I suggested that the best way for most golfers to stop this happening was to

Put the ball further back in your stance a few inches to negate the bounce that is on the sole of the sand wedge

Adjusting the ball position the same way you might do if you were going to play a low punching type shot with a longer iron

But how do you know if you have it right?

Take a look at the image below and you will see that the leading edge is flat on the ground and that the shaft angle is a lot further forward than the shaft angle in the image above

If you look closely you will also see that the trailing edge (the bit at the back) or bounce is not in contact with the ground


When you make the adjustment to play the fairway sand iron shot like this

Not only do you negate the possibility of the bounce of the club messing up your shot

It also assists you to make a descending blow on the ball

Which for most golfers actually helps them create a little more spin on the shot

It’s a win / win situation

You get rid of the possibility of messing it up and get a better shot in return

Unless you need a bit of height on the sand iron shot

Which is when the second way to play the fairway sand iron shot comes in

It’s a bit harder to play but it does give another very useful shot in your repertoire

The guy in the image at the start of this post, plays this shot quite a lot

Instead of putting the ball back in his stance to negate the bounce of the sand iron

He effectively plays a draw with the sand iron

The ball position remains in the middle of the stance

But the club face is closed over slightly

If you are not sure what that means here is an image of a sand wedge with the club face square (meaning its aiming straight at the target)


When it’s sitting like that for a fairway shot, most golfers find the bounce messes up their shot as I have already discussed

So to get rid of the bounce and still play a high sand iron shot from the fairway

You are actually going to need to close the club face over like the image below


This has the effect of getting rid of the bounce

As you can see from this side on shot of the same club position


Because of the clubface being closed

You need to compensate by aiming to the right of the target by a couple of yards

Then as in general a closed clubface will make the golf ball fly further than normal

You also need to hit a shot that is slightly softer than usual for the distance

The result will be a nice high drawing sand iron shot

That starts to the right of the hole

Moves a yard or two to the left as it flies towards the green

Then depending on the green surface and the ball being used

Either sits down quickly

Or occasionally does that cool thing you may have seen on television

Where the ball lands, takes one bounce forward

Then spins backwards and to the left at the same time

I have to admit I love playing that shot

I’m sure you will to once you practice it a bit

If you haven’t realized it yet

The adjustments you make to hit the high drawing sand iron shot from the fairway

Can help you hit other shots with a draw as well

But I think we’ll discuss that another day

Play well

Related Posts

How to hit a sand wedge from the fairway

Don’t hit the ball out of a sand trap

My golf shots don’t go straight