January 07, 2010
FAIRWAY BUNKERS: FIND THE EASIEST ESCAPE ROUTE
Just get the ball out. That's the cardinal rule for a high-handicapper in a fairway bunker. Grab your sand wedge, and play the safest shot possible. Look for the lowest point of the lip and the shortest carry distance to the fairway, and play an explosion shot, like you would from a greenside bunker.There are no style points. The worst explosion shot is better than a cleanly hit ball that buries in the lip. Play the ball forward of center in a slightly open stance, lean on your front foot and focus two to three inches behind the ball. Keeping your weight forward, make an aggressive swing and accelerate to a full finish.
A GOOD SETUP GOES A LONG WAY
Your objective from a greenside bunker should be to get the ball on the green and at worst two-putt. Getting in a good setup makes that a lot easier.Play the ball slightly forward of center, and open your stance. Your hands and the shaft should be just behind the ball. I like the image of the ball sitting in the middle of a six-inch box (left): Blast all of the sand from the box so the ball rides out on a cushion of sand. Don't get timid and decelerate. Hit it like it's a 60-yard shot off grass, and you'll naturally accelerate through the sand.LET THE BOUNCE WORK FOR YOUMake sure your sand wedge has enough loft (at least 56 degrees) and a generous bounce angle (10 to 14 degrees).