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Improve fairway bunker shots

We recently have had a great deal of questions both from students and listeners regarding fairway bunker shots.

Lets start with the primary rule and that is whenever you hit a tee shot out of play make sure you analyze the lie and shot to see what is the maximum club you can hit but still with 100 percent certainty get the ball back into play. A fairway bunker with a high lip or a poor lie may dictate that you use a more lofted club to get out and lay back well short of the green.

Now assuming that you have a good lie and the ball is positioned in the middle of the bunker where the lip is not an issue we need to try and play the ball the following way.

First as you want to have occur from the fairway make sure you are trying to hit the ground or sand in front of the ball.
Second choke down on the club slightly. This will promote the club being less likely to hit sand early.
Third quiet your lower body. If you have a golf swing with a great deal of leg movement we want to quiet down that lower body movement here in the bunker. Leg movement has the ability to move our low point around and increases the chances we will hit the shot fat.

Don’t try and hit a shot 100 percent. Take more club and hit the shot 60 or 70 percent of full. This will make it easier to keep your lower body quiet and hit the ball more solidly. Keep your top button on your golf shirt tall during the swing. Up and down movement reduces your ability to rotate and increases your chances of hitting the fat shot out of the bunker.

One of the real problems with fairway bunkers is that few practice facilities give us a chance to practice these shots and we encounter very few of them. Next time you are out in the evening playing a few leisurely practice holes drop a few in the fairway bunker and try and get more comfortable and confident from the fairway bunker.

Try these suggestions next time you are in a fairway bunker and see if you don’t improve your chance at advancing the ball on to the putting surface.

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