Mike Malaska explains that a bunker shot differs from any other shot you play in golf because there is no ball-to-club contact. The ball goes where the sand goes, not where the clubface is aimed.
Mike draws a line in the sand directed at the flag. Mike sets up, and the clubface is wide open. He makes a swing, and the ball goes straight toward the hole. It doesn’t go where the clubface is aimed because the ball does not hit the clubface. We are setting the clubface in the sand to do different things.
Again, Mike reinforces the idea that the ball goes where the sand goes. It doesn’t matter if you have the clubface open, square, or closed; the sand still goes toward the flag.
Having the clubface at different angles makes the club, when it hits the sand, do different things relative to the ball or the lie of the ball. You must understand the concept that the ball goes where the sand goes.
When you are practicing in a bunker, the first thing you should do is hit and throw sand. That is what you are doing to get the ball out. The ball comes out because it is just another grain of sand.
Don’t get fixated on hitting the ball. Mike shows us that you can make a terrible swing, but if you hit down into the sand and throw the sand out from under the ball, it will still go straight toward the hole.
Just remember, in bunkers, the ball is really not in play. The key takeaway is that you are throwing sand and not hitting the ball.