Fairway Bunker Strategies

By Teresa Justine Kelly

Landing in a fairway bunker does not necessarily mean your next shot is doomed. Unfortunately, most golfers attempt to blast their shots out of the fairway bunker, putting too much emphasis on getting distance on their ball rather than focusing on successfully getting the ball out of the bunker. Be realistic about your expectations of getting out of a fairway bunker. You are still hitting from sand, which will seriously curtail the distance you would normally achieve if you were hitting from a lush, grassy fairway. It's also important to note that the fairway bunker shot is different from the greenside bunker shot. Your goal with a fairway bunker shot is to hit the ball first instead of the sand. With a few helpful tips, you will no longer dread your ball landing in a fairway bunker.

Club Selection

A fairway bunker shot requires a slightly less-lofted club than you would normally use if your ball had landed in the fairway at the same distance, but enough loft to ensure the ball has adequate height to make it beyond the lip of the trap. If, for example, you would use a 7-iron for a distance of 150 yards on a normal fairway, it is recommended you club up to a 6-iron for a fairway bunker shot.

Feet Placement

Do not shuffle your feet deep into the sand as you would a greenside bunker. Instead, place your feet on the surface of the sand and stabilize your position using a narrow stance.

Ball Placement

Place the ball toward the middle of your stance. This will ensure that you cleanly pick the ball first rather than sand, as you would in a greenside bunker shot. Place your weight on your left side.

Sweep the Ball

Sweep the ball out of the sand rather than hit down into the sand. Your goal is to pick the ball cleanly from its position in the sand and propel it forward. Swing with a controlled golf swing using about 70 percent of your power and keep your wrists firm. The narrow stance will inhibit you from executing a full, powerful swing. Follow through, finishing with the club high.

About The Author

Teresa Kelly graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. She was an editor for seven years for several magazines and publishing houses. Kelly is an avid golfer, a well-known children's book and golf author, and is currently the president of Highview Press/Golfing Lady that produces all occasion golf greeting cards.


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