Striking from a Fairway Bunker
Hitting a long shot from a fairway bunker might be one of the most challenging shots on the golf course. Getting the ball up and out of a bunker is hard enough, but trying to hit a quality shot from 150 yards or more and land it on the green can seem like an impossible dream for some. While it is a hard shot, it is nowhere near impossible. By understanding a few basic important aspects of technique while playing from the fairway bunker, you can improve your strike and start to conquer your fear of the fairway sand trap.
The first step toward improving from the fairway bunker is understanding that you won’t be able to hit your clubs the normal, full distance that you hit them from the fairway. You will need to adjust your yardages, and usually will want to use at least one extra club when playing from the sand. After you pull the right club, use the following three tips to improve your striking from a fairway bunker.
- Quiet feet. It is easy to slip when swinging in a fairway bunker, so try to keep your feet quiet during the swing. In general, the best way to keep your feet quiet is to swing a little softer and trust the extra club that you took to carry the necessary distance. Also, you are allowed to wiggle your feet into the sand to get a little more traction, and you should do so before you start your swing.
- Flatter swing plane. If you come down steeply into the ball, you are likely to catch too much sand and have the short come up very short of the target. Instead, use a flatter swing and try to ‘sweep’ the ball off the top of the sand. Think about the swing you make with your driver off the tee and try to make a similar motion from the fairway bunker.
- Head still. You may be willing to look up quickly to see where the ball is going, but you need to keep your head down if you want to make solid contact. Looking up early is a recipe for hitting the shot thin, and that could lead to the ball not getting out of the bunker at all. Above all else you need to get the ball out of the sand on the first shot, so keep your head down and make sure you get a solid strike.