If you’re looking for the easiest wedge to hit out of the sand due to having some bad experiences in the bunker.
I feel your pain only too well.
We’ve all been there before, some of us (sadly) a lot more than others.
We smash a beauty of a shot off of the fairway towards the green, catching it so cleanly that we know it’s going to land right where we want to – setting us up perfectly for a low score.
But then, for one reason or another – sometimes just a nasty gust of wind out of nowhere – our golf ball finds a greenside bunker or a trap and plans with a splash of sand. We know right then that we are going to have to dig out our sand wedge, chunk it out of the trap, and hope that we can get up and down without much damage.
Unfortunately, this is usually when our hands start to sweat.
We have to pull out the perfect wedge to get out of the trap cleanly. And that’s always a bigger challenge than most people realize.
Thankfully though, armed with the inside information below, you’ll know EXACTLY which wedge to reach for when you need to get out of the sand cleanly.
You’ll know which wedge to grab when you need a little “bump and run” when you need to punch it high and landed it tight, and when you need to clear other obstacles between you and the green without running off.
Let’s jump right in shall we?
Stay With 54-58 Degree Wedges
While there used to be a bunch of wedges on the market that were emblazoned with “SW” markings to designate them as sand wedges, that a lot less common these days for a couple of different reasons.
For one thing, people aren’t buying prepackaged wedge sets quite as often as they used to in the past.
Sure, your budget “right-out-of-the-box” set of golf clubs is going to include irons five through nine and then a couple of wedges – but most serious golfers are going to want to get their hands on a legitimate set of irons and a separate set of wedges that give them a lot more control.
If that’s where you find yourself you’ll want to make sure that you have a 54° wedge through a 58° wedge on hand that you can use for blasting out of the sand.
A lot of people like to use the “two-step” degree shift throughout their wedges – a 52°, a 54°, and a 56° – whereas others like a “six-step” that looks like a 48°, a 54°, and 60° when a lot of loft is necessary.
At the end of the day, the odds are pretty good that you’re going to be reaching for a wedge with a bit of loft but also a lot of control. Between 54° and 58°, it’s that sweet spot, allowing you to either open up the face or close the face as necessary to give more or less loft (respectively) to get your ball where you need it to go.
There are a couple of other things you’ll need to think about when searching for the easiest wedge to head out of the sand depending on the specifics of each time you find yourself in a trap.
Let’s dig a little deeper into those right now.
What’s the Range Of Your Wedge?
For starters, you need to think about how far you have to hit this ball out of the sand trap.
If you’re working with a greenside bunker then the chances are pretty good you don’t have to absolutely smash your ball just to get on the dance floor. A nice little clean scoop and lift can usually get you on the green and run you out to the pin.
At the same time, if you’re working with a fairway trap or a bunker set farther away from the green the chances are pretty good that you’re going to need to punch yourself out with a little more force.
The distance you need your ball to go from the trap is going to have a huge impact on the club that you choose.
The greenside bunker situation described above might require you to grab a 58° wedge and hold its face pretty open before you blast it out. Come back 60 or 70 yards, though, and you might want to take a high iron (and eight or nine) out of the sand with a bit of extra loft if you need it to go the distance.
What’s Your Approach?
Figuring out how far you need your ball to go after you leave the sand is just one piece of the puzzle.
Another piece is figuring out what you need that ball to do, where you need it to land, and where you need it to stop when it leaves the bunker, too.
Some bunker side traps and fairway traps are “potbellies” that will have you 6 feet or more below the green or fairway. You’re going to need a ton of height to punch out of those kinds of traps – and that means you’re going to need a ton of loft and a full blast swing.
Other sand traps are going to have trees in the way or other features that need to be navigated when your ball leaves the trap itself. Maybe you need to hit a shot that has enough loft to get over the rim of a bunker but remains tight enough to the fairway or going that it avoids other obstacles.
You really need to think about what your approach is before you hit your shot, rather than just reaching for a 54°, 56°, or 58° wedge and letting it rip. Getting your golf ball out of the trap is just the beginning!
Looking To Stick It Or Run It Out?
Of course, you are also going to have to think about where you need your ball to land and what you need it to do after you have hit your shot.
Are you 30 yards away from the pin and need your bunker shot to punch out of the sand, catch the green almost immediately, and then run out towards the flag?
Or are you 10 yards away from the pin and need a lot of arc, a lot of height, and a lot of loft to shoot your golf ball up in the air before dropping it (almost straight down) and then maybe walking it back towards the pin?
Maybe you need to do something else entirely!
No matter what, though, you need to think about where you need your golf ball to land after you have hit the shop and what it is going to do when it hits the ground again.
If you need something that’s going to run out a bit you’ll need to hit a lower shot, a kind of knockdown shot that grabs the green and then screams across it towards your target.
If you need something to stick you’ll need a high lofted club, an open clubface, and a swing designed to get that ball up near as much as possible and then straight down without a lot of spin – or even a bit of backspin to walk it back.
Consider all of these things before you reach for one wedge or another.
(Almost) Always Open The Club Face Up
No matter which wedge you choose to grab to get out of the sand, the odds are good you’ll want to lay it flat and open the face-up at least a little bit.
Remember, the rules of golf say that you cannot ground your club when you are standing in the sand. So avoid that at all costs, but do make sure that you are opening up the face and adding a bit of loft to guarantee that you get out of the sand.
This approach is going to let you swing harder to punch that ball out of the trap, get a little more arc and a little more loft, and add a bit of spin to the mix as well so that you can run it out when you need to.
When you open up your clubface, though, make sure that you also open your stance in relation to how your feet are lined up with your target.
The more open your clubface gets the more open your feet should be, keeping the swing path right so that your ball goes exactly where you want it to and you don’t run the risk of shutting the face and blading the ball.
All in all, as long as you keep these things in mind the next time that you find yourself in the sand trap (and we all will) you should be good to go.
There are a bunch of different clubs you can rely on to get yourself out of trouble when you are “at the beach”, but more often than not it’s going to be your 54° wedges through your 58° wedges – and sometimes a 60° wedge – that does the bulk of the heavy lifting for you.
What’s the easiest wedge to hit out of sand for you?
After loads of testing and trying different wedges over the years, I personally get the best results with a 58° wedge but the most important thing for you to realize is that you need plenty of bounce on your wedge.
10 degrees of bounce I would say is minimum all the way up to 14 degrees. Just having enough bounce on your wedge could be the difference that you are looking for in your bunker play.