Instruction – Open Sesame

Instruction – Open Sesame

One of the common things I see in bunker lessons is a misunderstanding of what an adequately open club face looks like. The student will often describe out loud while they demonstrate what they are trying to do: “Dig the feet in, weight forwards, open the face…” As they are describing “open the face” the face remains almost unchanged.  

Let’s first discuss why opening the face is so important. The club can enter the sand with either the leading edge or the bounce. The leading edge in the “digger”! It’s great for digging the ball out of a buried lie in the sand or deep rough. The bounce is the skimmer. It is your FRIEND! We need to use the bounce when hitting from the sand (except from a buried lie).

One way to increase the likelihood of hitting the sand with the bounce is to open the club face. But, truly open the face. If you look at the examples of the club face square versus the club face open, you’ll notice that the leading edge is further away from my finger (sand) when the club face is open versus square. Also, notice how open it is!

Now, if you are the kind of golfer that only uses a 60° or 58° wedge for all of your bunker shots, you’ll find yourself coming up short quite often. You’ll need to start experimenting with your other wedges using the same technique.

Use this tip and you will see improvement in your bunker game and in your overall scoring.

Mike Bury is the Director of Instruction at Mike Bury Golf and has been named to Golf Digest’s “Best Young Teachers in America” list for the last four years. To find out more, log on to