Here is a great tip I picked up at the How To Break 80 blog. I find this tip especially important when playing the Thailand golf courses where it is common to find many green side bunkers with tight pin placements
Few things in golf are as challenging as the short greenside bunker shot. With the flag only a few feet from the bunker, it’s a difficult shot to make. If you decelerate the club head upon entering the sand, you’ll leave the ball in the bunker or mis-hit it. If you strike the ball firmly, you might hit the ball beyond the hole, leaving a long return putt. Either way is not good.
You need a lot of finesse to make this shot. Here are 6 keys to doing it successfully.
• Widen your stance a little
• Stand a little more open than normal
• Place your hands behind the ball
• Swing aggressively
• Cup your right hand through impact.
• Exaggerate clubface’s open position
You need to take a shallow cut of sand from beneath the ball, just as you would for most bunker shots. But you need to make a couple of adjustments to your set up to generate the flight and soft landing this shot demands.
First, widen your stance a little for more stability. Also, stand a little more open than normally, which allows your hands to clear your hips as you swing. And finally, lower your hands and place them behind the ball, adding loft to the club head. Remember: you want to maximize the club head’s loft. That way you can be aggressive through impact yet only hit the ball a few feet.
Also, try "cupping" your left wrist as you bring the club head back, exaggerating its open position so that the club head’s face points skyward. As you come forward from the top of the backswing, accelerate the club head into the sand. Try to feel your right hand (for right hander players) work in under your left as you complete your downswing.
Finish with a short follow-through. As you do, check to see that the club head is fully open and that you’re looking directly at the face of the club head. If you are, it probably was successful and you will have a short par or perhaps birdie putt.
Let me know how this works out for you or if you have any other good suggestions for greenside bunker play.