Problems With Fairway Bunkers

By Steve Silverman

Playing from fairway bunkers can be quite intimidating, especially for medium- and high-handicap golfers. While actually hitting from from fairway bunkers is often easier than it looks, less accomplished golfers tend to panic when they are 150 yards or more from the hole and they find themselves in one of the bunkers.

Hunker Down in the Bunker

Golfers have to gain a solid foothold when they are in the bunker. It is very easy to slip while taking a full swing, so to feel secure in the bunker you need to take a shoulder-wide stance and then work your heels into the sand by shifting them back and forth two or three times. This will keep you from moving when you take your swing.

Sweep the Ball Out of the Hazard

Fairway bunkers are usually easier to negotiate than greenside bunkers. They are usually shallower than greenside bunkers and that means that you can easily get the ball and over the lip. All that is needed under these circumstances is a shot that sweeps the ball up and out of the hazard. When your ball is sitting on top of the sand in the fairway bunker, there is no need to hit behind the ball and take sand the way you would around the green. This is an issue that often confuses newer golfers or those who lack confidence in the bunker.

Under the Lip

While most fairway bunker shots are not as complicated as many golfers think, you can have significant problems when your ball gets embedded near the lip of the hazard. Under these circumstances, your only job is to get the ball out of the hazard, You may not be able to advance the ball or you may have to go backwards to get it back into the fairway. In these circumstances, take a medium or short iron and just pop the ball out of the fairway by sweeping the ball out. You are trying for placement in the fairway and distance is not a consideration.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.

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