Simply put, playing off the fairway is quite different than playing out of a fairway bunker, so being prepared for both scenarios is extremely critical.
“When you find yourself in a fairway bunker, you should approach with caution,” says PGA Pro Shanon Hoyt.
One of the biggest issues you might run into is hitting the sand with the club first, so approach these shots with caution using these easy-to-follow steps.
When looking at the distance from your ball to the pin, Hoyt recommends choosing one club higher than you normally would for a shot similar in distance on the fairway to help you clear the lip of the trap. For example, if you would usually hit a 9-iron, choose an 8-iron.
So, how should you position your body to hit the ball out of the fairway bunker?
- Start with a wider stance than normal and keep your feet stable.
- Next, grip down on the club, placing your hands farther down the club shaft.
- At the same time, wiggle your feet down into the sand about a half inch to stabilize yourself.
- Make sure the ball is positioned at the back of your stance, closer to your back foot.
- To execute the shot, swing as you would out on the fairway, but only rotate your upper body, trying to keep the lower body still. Simply put, only turn your shoulders both directions.
And remember, you’re using a higher club, so there is no need to swing with as much force as you normally would, only the same motion.
Finally, the worst thing you can do is to hit the sand before, like you would do in soft sand trap shots near the green. Remember to ways try and aim to hit all ball and no sand in fairway bunkers.