Fairway Bunker Shot Technique

Mary Hafeman PGA and LPGA Professional at the Mary Hafeman Golf Experience located within the Grand Club’s Cypress Club in Palm Coast, Florida shares her Fairway Bunker Shot Techniques….


I always find the most challenging bunker shot to hit is the fairway bunker shot. The objective is to hit the ball a greater distance than a green side bunker.   A fundamental difference between the two shots is that from a greenside bunker you try to hit the sand first where in a fairway bunker you want to contact the ball first.

Be sure to select a club that has enough loft to clear the lip of the fairway bunker. Architect’s design some of the fairway bunkers with a high lip, which inhibits the player to hit the ball high enough to carry the necessary distance.  If you have had the experience of a “fairway pot bunker” you know what I am talking about.  Remember you need to get out of the bunker first before you think about the distance needed. I’ll list below some of the adjustments you need to make to produce a successful fairway bunker shot.
  1. Most importantly check the lie of the ball first. A good lie that is sitting “up” allows for a normal swing with few adjustments. A medium lie allows for more of a descending blow and a poor lie which is sitting “down” requires a player to just pitch out into the fairway.
  2. Set your feet in the bunker while addressing the ball. You have an opportunity to notice how deep the sand is as you set your feet, you also need your feet set for a good base to ensure a consistent swing.
  3. Choke or grip down on the club about an inch about the same distance as you have dug your feet into the sand.
  4. Position the ball in the middle of your stance.
  5. Move your hands ahead of the ball slightly as you cannot ground the club in a hazard without a penalty stroke.
  6. Target hitting the ball just above the sand on a good lie. If you have a poor lie take a more lofted club and hit a traditional green side bunker shot back out to the fairway.
  7. Look not at a spot behind the ball like a green side bunker but rather on the front side of the ball or just slightly ahead of the ball to help assure you hit the ball first and not the sand. It will feel like you “picked the ball” out of the sand.
Fairway bunker shots although may be tricky, the shot becomes easier with confidence and practice. Remember look at your lie in the bunker and how deep the bunker face is before you select your club. Getting out of the bunker should be your first thought and if  you can get the correct distance you are way ahead of the ball game.
If you would like to learn more about how to play better golf, contact Mary Hafeman PGA and LPGA Professional at www.maryhafemangolf.com or purchase a gift card for a lesson package here, You will enjoy your experience, learn and improve, I guarantee it!

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