July 23, 2007

Fairway sand

Choke down and keep your lower body still

To play a fairway bunker shot, take your normal grip (left), then choke down two inches (right).

To play a fairway bunker shot, take your normal grip (left), then choke down two inches (right).

As long as you have a decent lie, hitting from a fairway bunker isn't as difficult as you might think--you just don't have room to hit it heavy and get away with it.

I play this shot the same way I would a wind shot from the fairway. Set up with the ball in the middle of your stance, and anchor yourself in the sand by digging in your feet. Take more club, but choke down on the grip two inches, as I'm doing here. That offsets your feet being below the surface of the sand. When you hit this shot, focus on making a three-quarter backswing and keeping your lower body quiet. Hit the ball first, then the sand. The shot will come out lower than normal, because of the stronger loft on the longer club, but it'll have more backspin.

Els writes instruction articles only for Golf Digest. For more tips, click golfdigest.com/instruction.