Without a doubt, long bunker shots are among the most difficult you will ever play. Most players think about what they have learned to get out of a sand trap next to the green. Unfortunately, all that goes for naught when you hit from a fairway trap that is up to 200 yards away from the green. Dispose of all those lessons and keep these five things in mind the next time you have to hit a long bunker shot.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Take your normal address and grip the club on the top, and firmly, instead of gripping the club softly and down the shaft as you might with a close-in bunker shot. You need distance with this shot, unlike a greenside bunker shot where there is a premium paid for accuracy.
Stand closer to the golf ball than you would with a greenside sand shot. And unlike those shots where you are going a short distance, you must take as little sand as you can because you have to advance the ball a much greater distance.
Your backswing is the most important part of making a long bunker shot. With a sand shot that's close in, you probably were taught to pick up the club rather quickly so that you could hit a couple of inches behind the ball. With that shot, you actually are causing the ball to be propelled by the sand, not the club. With a long bunker shot, you should take your normal swing because you want the club, not the sand, to make the ball fly toward the target.
Have faith that the club you have chosen will cause the ball to fly out of the bunker with no additional help from you. First, make sure that you have chosen a club that will clear the bunker and its lip. Then, take your normal swing, and make sure that you accelerate through the golf ball. More long bunker shots are missed because players don't believe in the shot and quit on it. There's nothing worse than leaving the ball in the sand and having to hit it again.
Practice this shot until it becomes part of your routine. A typical player only encounters a long bunker shot once or twice each round. So he simply doesn't have enough opportunities to prefect this shot. If your golf club has a practice sand trap where you can hit this shot, all the better. Otherwise, hit a few balls off of bare dirt because it is a close simulation to hitting a long bunker shot.