How to Hit a Fairway Bunker Shot – Ball First!

Click to play

HOW DO YOU HIT A FAIRWAY BUNKER SHOT?

You hit a fairway bunker shot by hitting the ball first and then the sand. This shot is similar to playing iron shots on the fairway with at least one noticeable difference - your footing. If the sand is firm, you can take your normal address position, but it can be helpful to anchor your trailing foot by digging in a little, like a pitcher in baseball. On the other hand, if the sand is loose or fluffy, you will want to wiggle your feet until you reach firm sand below.

Above, Scott Bunker - Class A PGA Member and Director of Golf at Red Mountain Ranch Country Club, shares a step-by-step lesson and demonstrates how to play a fairway bunker shot. Below, Rickie Fowler, PGA Tour Player, and Golf Digest Playing Editor and Rickard Strongert share additional insights for hitting the green out of the fairway bunker. The most critical element discussed in this lesson is the address and different approaches to stabilizing your feet in a fairway bunker.

Click to play

The Fairway Bunker Shot

Being a hero is not the goal on a fairway bunker shot. Getting out of the bunker as far as possible is the key here. If your shot comes to rest in the fairway bunker and you've still got a long distance to carry, it's essential on this shot (different from your greenside bunker shot) that we want to hit the golf ball first. If you hit the sand first, the ball may come out, but you'll lose all the power. As a result, you're going to lose a lot of distance.

So, the technique you're striving to use is to catch the golf ball first. You'll get a feel for the sand as you get set up. If the sand is firm, you can feel confident in being more aggressive with your shot. Otherwise, it would help if you wiggled your feet until you found a suitable firm foundation. Even if the sand is firm, it can be helpful to drive you trailing foot into the sand on a small angle for best footing and traction. Next, grip the club normally and set the handle slightly forward.
Additionally, you'll learn a little on my target foot. The ball is centered too slightly right of center. The purpose of that positioning is to ensure good solid club ball contact. This correct setup will help ensure that you'll get your maximum distance on this shot.

Click to play

A pro tip is not to get greedy with your club selection. While you want to set up and hit the ball for distance, if you take to straight a club out of a fairway bunker, you might be asking for trouble. Remember, we're delofting the club by leaning the handle forward. If there is no lip in the bunker, you may be able to use your fairway wood or hybrid. A fairway wood is a long, low lofted club, so you may want to use a more lofted club if a lip is in front of you. Minimize your risks. Get yourself out of trouble with good solid club ball contact, and you'll be happy with the results.


Your Rx Golf Quiz

Become a 200 IQ Golfer!

Take the Rx Golf Quiz each day to build a 200 Golf IQ.  You'll know exactly what to do in any situation on the golf course. Only 3 or 4 questions and takes about 1 minute.


Scott Bunker, Director of Golf
Class A PGA Member Scott Bunker is Director of Golf at Red Mountain Ranch Country Club. Scott was again recognized by Golf Digest as a Top 10 Instructor in Arizona. He has been on their list every year since 2000. Scott was named Teacher of the Year by the Southwest PGA in 2000. He was previously Director of Instruction with the John Jacob's Golf Schools, starting his golf teaching career there in 1979.

Scott has taught all over the world teaching golfers from beginners to professionals. He currently offers private lessons to members as well as clinics to beginners, men, women and juniors. He runs his summer junior camp at Red Mountain Ranch Country Club every summer. Scott and his wife Mary have three boys, Jeffrey, Ryan and Kyle.



MORE FOR YOU

Pitching

A Broken Tee is the Key to the 50-Yard Pitch Shot

HOW DO YOU IMPROVE YOUR 50-YARD PITCH SHOT? The "broken tee drill" will [...]

Driving / Full Swing, Full Swing - Drills

Stick Your Takeaway for a Great Golf Swing

WHAT'S THE BEST DRILL TO LEARN A PROPER TAKEAWAY IN YOUR FULL [...]

Driving / Full Swing, Full Swing - Drills

Get All Choked Up When You Play Great Golf

WHAT'S THE BEST DRILL TO LEARN TO SWING A GOLF CLUB? One of [...]

Golf Exercises, Golf Fitness

How to Win the PowerBall in Golf

WHAT ARE GOOD EXERCISES TO INCREASE MY CLUBHEAD SPEED IN GOLF?One of [...]

Course Management, Instruction

You Have to Play the Shot You Got

Your Best Club's Between Your EarsHOW DO YOU PLAY GOLF WHEN YOU [...]

Putting

Do You Know How to Hit a Dead Straight Putt

HOW DO YOU LEARN TO HIT YOUR PUTTS STRAIGHT?Since every putt should [...]


{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Join Our Rx Community

Provide your name and email address and I'll send you a daily Rx Golf Tip and Quiz directly to your inbox.

>