Fairway Bunkers Made Easy

Jeff Fisher
Director of Instruction
Fisher Bryan Golf Academy at Longbow Golf Club
Mesa, AZ

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There are several shots in golf that can cause a great deal of frustration, but maybe none more so than a fairway bunker shot. However, if you follow a few simple tips and do not try to create miracles out of the sand, I know you can get better at this shot!

The first thing to understand is that you have to choose the correct club, and the correct club does not necessarily mean the one that can reach the green. The correct club is the one that you know for sure you can hit the ball over the lip of the bunker. If that club also happens to be long enough to reach the green, then that is a bonus! If not, pick a line of flight that will land you in a safe place with the club you have.

Secondly, you need the correct set up. Address the ball and dig your feet in not only to anchor yourself but also to get a feel for the condition of the sand. Choke up on the club about the same amount that you have dug your feet into the sand. This will keep you from burying your club on your downswing. Ball position should be slightly forward of center making sure that your spine is tilted away from the target.

This set-up will help make sure that you make a shallow pass through the ball. A shallow pass will allow you to finish the swing and not get stuck in the sand. If your downswing is too steep then you will take too much sand and stop the momentum of your club.

When it comes time to make your swing, keep your lower body fairly quiet. On the downswing you need to shift your weight just enough towards the target to allow you to contact the ball before the sand. Your shallow attack angle will make it easier for you to swing to your normal finish position.

Practicing fairway bunker shots is sometimes difficult because most practice areas do not have a fairway bunker available. Luckily Longbow Golf Club has built a brand new fairway bunker along the side of their range tee to help golfers work on this shot!

Jeff Fisher is the Director of Instruction at the OB Sports Golf Academy at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Arizona. Jeff can be reached at 480.414.9330 or jfisher@obsports.com.