One of the toughest shots in golf – the fairway bunker shot. Whether it be 100 yards, 150 yards, or 200 yards, many amateur golfers struggle with the lengthy bunker shot.
The main difference between a fairway bunker shot and a greenside bunker shot is the striking of the golf ball. With a greenside bunker shot, most the time you will take a fair amount of sand before the ball. This is in the hope of a cushioned landing, a higher launch angle, and to control the shot over a short distance. With a fairway bunker shot, the objectives are different. You aim to strike the ball cleanly, carry the ball a decent distance, and come as close to your standard club yardages as possible. Here are some things you can do to help strike a fairway bunker shot cleanly:
Choke down on the club
In order to strike the ball first, and the sand second, you should choke down on the grip. Gripping down the club by 1-2 inches, and standing the same distance from the ball, pulls the clubhead upward to the golfer. This makes the club shorter and moves the leading edge of the club face up the golf ball. By gripping down on the club, it is much easier to strike the ball before the sand, and promotes a slight thin on the golf ball.
Move the ball back in your stance
Once you have gripped down on the club, to avoid completely thinning/topping the golf shot, you should move the ball position back in your stance. You should aim to move the position back one club. For example: if you are hitting an 8 iron, address the ball as if you were hitting a 9 iron. This promotes a descending strike on the golf ball and, with the combination of gripping down on the club, can really help give a clean strike with maximum distance control.
Don’t dig your feet too deep
One of the oldest tips with bunker shots is to dig your feet into the sand. With a greenside bunker shot, this lowers your center of gravity and helps you take a lot of sand with the golf ball. On a fairway bunker shot, you do not want to be too low in the sand. Dig your feet ever so slightly, as to keep yourself stable through the shot, but try not to lose any height in the sand.
Give these three tips a try, the next time you’re in a fairway bunker! Let me know how you get on, by commenting below or going through the contact form.