Fairway Bunker Basics

Fairway Bunker Basics

Well here I am in a fairway bunker. I want to make it to the green and I have about 120 yards to go and I have a lip in front of me that is impeding my progress. I might be able to get a six to 9-iron over that lip so I have a choice to make but that choice is limited by the lie of the ball. I have to be very careful because just a few ounces of sand behind the ball can get trapped between the clubface and the ball and cause the shot to shoot into the face of the bunker. So the two lies I have in front of me give me totally different outlooks. From the clean lie I can hit a 7-iron and pick it right off the sand. But from this dirty lie where the ball is just sitting down a little bit I have to hit a 9-iron and hit it slightly fat to make sure that I get the loft of the club on the ball. There is not much chance that I can get on the green with this dirty lie but there is a pretty good chance of making the green with the good lie. Let me show you what I mean. Taking the 7-iron shot I can grip down the club, position the ball slightly further back in my stance and just take it fairly cleanly off the sand. Now looking at the bad lie, it is a totally different prospect. I can’t hit it on the green now and I have to accept that. So I change clubs to a 9-iron and it is the same set up, gripping down on the club and digging in with my feet, but now I am going to make sure that I hit the ball slightly fat. The worst thing that can happen in this shot is that I make the wrong decision, catch the ball clean and it hits the lip and comes back in to the bunker. So remember when you are in a fairway bunker, I know what you would like to do but think what you can do.


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