Sand traps have been a part of golf from the beginning, and they confound novices and professionals alike. The soft sand in a bunker makes for an unstable lie, and the fact that your ball could be mostly buried means you might not get enough of it for a good shot.

No matter what kind of golfer you are, you will have to make a bunker shot at some point in your game, so here are a few tips that might help you.

Choosing the Right Club

If you find yourself in a bunker without a lot of green to work with, you will want to choose a high-lofted wedge for your shot. The ball shouldn’t roll too far once it hits the target, so there’s less of a chance you will stay on the green. If you’re a little farther from the green, a lower lofted sand wedge is a good choice. You’ll get more distance out of your shot, and your ball might roll closer to where you need it to go.

Take the Right Stance

When you get into the bunker to take your shot, you will want to dig your feet a little into the sand to get a stable stance and gauge how deep the sand really is. You will also want to play the ball off of your front foot so your shot has a higher trajectory and a better chance of clearing the bunker.

Next, open your stance and your clubface. Like playing the ball off of your front foot, this will give your ball a higher loft. It will also help the face of your club slide underneat the ball.

Finally, put most of your weight on your front foot. This will give your swing a steep descent, allowing you to really dig into the sand and get more of your ball.

Have a Good Swing

When hitting your ball out of a sand trap, it’s best to use an outside-in swing path with a slight wrist hinge at the top. Your backswing will determine how far your ball will go, so keep that in mind as well. You might want to practice this until you can maintain as much control over your shot as possible.

Have a Good Follow Through

You will want to stay down longer while following all the way through on a bunker shot. You’ll chunk the ball if you stop at the point of impact and blade it if you come up too early. Once again, this takes a lot of practice to do consistently, so don’t be too discouraged if you can’t make your first few bunker shots.