At the Dewsweepers Golf School and on the Dewsweepersgolfshow.com website this topic recently came in.
“I am a pretty good bunker player when it comes to green side bunkers but really struggle with 40-50 yard bunker shots. My course also has waste areas that run along the fairways any suggestions how to play out of the waste areas in the 40 to 50 yard range”
My suggestion is that if you are a good green side bunker player that you adopt the same technique for the 40-50 yard bunker shot as well as the shot from the waste area. One of the problems for golfers when faced with the long fairway bunker or waste area shot is that they are never quite sure whether they are supposed to blast it out like they do in a green side bunker or try and pick it out .
I have found that most of the time when someone tries and pick the ball out the result is quite unpredictable. The shot often ends up either being hit fat and taking too much sand or bladed over the green.
Here are two options to help you play this shot with more success.
My first preference would be to play the explosion shot just like you would around the green. This time since the ball will need to travel a greater distance use a longer club to hit the explosion shot. You might want to try and hit this shot with your gap wedge, pitching wedge or even your 9 iron. If you practice this shot and find a club which hits it the correct distance I believe you’ll find that you hit these long shots more like the green side bunker shots that you are comfortable with and that your scores will come down.