The delicate, soft explosion shot from a trap is a difficult one for most golfers, chiefly because they approach it with great uncertainty. They are tempted to chip it, then tempted to blast it, and end up in a mental funk doing neither. Yet it is an excellent shot when you are trapped next to the green and the pin is positioned so near the trap, say within 20 feet, that you cannot play a full, conventional explosion.
It is most important to realize that this shot is not simply a reduced version of the explosion. It requires a technique entirely its own. Address the ball with a wide-open stance. Play it off the left foot, with the blade of your sand wedge turned very open. Turning the blade in this fashion brings the heavy flange more into play, encouraging the club to bounce off the sand instead of digging deep into it. Start the shot by taking the club back to the outside and on a fairly low plane. In other words, do not swing it up as abruptly as you would for the conventional explosion shot. On the downswing, hit the sand about an inch behind the ball and "skim" the ball out, taking very little sand underneath it and keeping your wrists firm on the follow-through. This will give you greater control. The skimming action is created almost automatically by the fact that you have opened up the blade at address and kept it on a low plane during the backswing. To determine how hard you should swing at this shot, imagine that it is a normal chip shot about 50% longer than the shot that faces you. One final word: be extremely careful not to move your head or body. This is one of the most exacting shots that a golfer must face. Nothing is sure to spoil it quicker than moving the head.