How to break
Some of managing your golf game is the ability to negotiate around the golf course and avoid any hazards. However, from time to time you will be lured into a fairway bunker. In this post we will discuss the technique needed to play from a fairway bunker and avoid dropping a shot.
Prevention is definitely better than cure when it comes to bunkers. So if you can avoid a fairway bunker then our advice is do so. OK, so how can you avoid a fairway bunker? Firstly you will need to know where the fairway bunkers are. On some holes it will be pretty obvious to see them from the tee box, but other holes with blind tee shots it may not be as easy. If it is a new course you are playing our advice is to buy a course planner from the pro shop and study the scorecard to establish where the bunkers are on each hole. Next you need to know your yardages (how far you hit each club) and if a fairway bunker is in play for you. If it is, then perhaps playing a lesser club and laying up short may be a smarter move for you. Also do not aim for a bunker and try to shape your shot away from the hazard unless you can consistently pull this shot off under pressure. You never want to be punished for hitting a straight shot. We recommend for the average golfer to aim away from any fairway bunkers just in case you hit that perfect straight shot.
If you have taken the advice above and are unfortunate enough to find yourself in a fairway bunker then here’s our three top tips to help you escape first time without dropping a shot.
Where do you need the put the ball so that you are in a good position to make par? Is the question we want you to ask yourself. There maybe a good chance that you can reach the green from the bunker or you may need to layup and be on the green for three and try to single putt for par. Whatever the situation you are in, where do you need to be to have a chance of making par. Answering this question will help you decide on what club to play and whether you can successfully elevate the ball over the lip of the bunker and out of the sand with enough distance to reach the green. Now you know the type of shot you are trying to play and where you want to play the ball let’s now look at the technique.
Usually with a bunker shot you are advised to shuffle your feet in the sand to get a stable base. We do recommend that you try to achieve a stable base. However, sinking your feet into the sand lowers you swing arc which has the potential issue of you hitting behind the ball and a fat shot. So to counter this you will need to choke (grip) down on the club around the same distance that you have lowered into the sand achieving a balanced comfortable position.
You are now looking to achieve clean contact. For fairway bunkers you want to hit down on the ball with ball then sand contact. This will ensure that you get some compression on the ball and spin, to give the ball a true flight. To achieve this play the ball a little further back in your stance and swing through the ball. Many golfers think that all bunker shots are the same. A green side bunker is a very different type of golf shot. From a green side bunker you are trying to ‘splash’ the ball out of the sand. Green side bunkers will be covered in more detail in a separate post.
Finally swing within yourself. Why not try taking one more club than you would usually need for the distance and take an eighty percent swing. This ensures that you do not swing to hard and dip into the ball creating a fat or heavy shot. Your swing thought should be to stand tall and swing easy. So now you know the theory of escaping from a fairway bunker, lets go to the practice area and try this out ….
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The Golf Talk team