If you play golf in the Lowcountry, you are likely to get into a fairway bunker sometimes, and maybe each time you play.
Fairway bunkers are actually easier to hit out of than greenside bunkers – if you follow some of my suggestions below.
• Check the lip of the bunker first, since loft on this shot is the most important variable. Choose a club that has enough loft the clear the lip.
• Use one or two more clubs than you would if the ball was on the grass at that distance. You are not going to swing aggressively from this lie in the bunker.
• Dig feet into the sand to be balanced; you need a good foundation. The key to hitting it solid is to remain as stable as possible when you swing.
• Stand taller than normal. This will help you take little or no sand.
• Use a square and wider stance than on the grass and this will keep your lower body stay stable.
• Keep your weight on the insides of your feet to limit the weight shift.
• Ball position is center or slightly back of center.
• Focus your eyes in front of the ball and this will promote ball first contact.
• Hit the ball thin and “pick it” off the sand, taking no divot.
• Keep your lower body “quiet” with as little leg movement as possible.
• For longer bunker shots, hybrids are a great choice of club because of their rounded bottom and sole.
• Take a smooth easy swing using more arms and shoulders and less lower body.
Most driving ranges don’t have fairway bunkers in which to practice, so I suggest you practice this shot on the golf course.
Write down some of these bullet points on an index card and take it with you. Practice shots from various distances and various lips when you are playing for fun.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com