How to play fairway bunker shot
Fairway bunkers tend to be one of the most misunderstood type of lies for most amateurs.
The old stand-by thought when hitting out of a fairway bunker has been to “pick it clean” where a player tries to catch the ball with no sand behind or in front, essentially hitting a thin shot on purpose. If you’ve watched an expert player out of the same lie, however, you’ve seen a noticeable amount of sand get airborne. This is because the ideal type of strike in most fairway bunker situations is similar to striking a ball from the middle of the fairway: ball first contact paired with a downward strike and a club that enters the sand AFTER impact.
There are some easy ways to ensure you strike the ball cleanly and take a “divot” of sand after the ball –
- First, to accommodate the feet being dug into the sand, choking down about one-inch helps ensure a proper low-point for clean contact (this is also the reason clubbing up one club is important).
- Secondly, making sure to place the ball slightly behind the normal position in your stance will help accomplish a steeper angle of attack into impact, helping accomplish the same.
- Thirdly and most important, making an under-control, three-quarters type of backswing while keeping most of the pressure in the left foot will help shift the low-point of the swing more left, helping with the strike.
If well understood, hitting a solid shot from the fairway bunker is a fairly easily task. Just remember, choke down, ball back and weight left and you’ll be amazed at how simple it is to strike the ball first when in the sand!