Simple Tips To Get Out Of Any Fairway Bunker
Photo by J.D. Cuban
A lot of golfers think hitting it into a fairway bunker is a sentence to a big number. But that doesn't have to be the case. No matter whether your ball is up against the lip, on a downhill slope, or resting in the middle, make these simple adjustments and you'll have a fighting chance at getting out and saving a shot or two. —With Ron Kaspriske
AGAINST THE LIP
The key to this lie on the left side of the bunker is to shallow your downswing, so you can get the ball up and clear the lip. To do that, swing into the ball more from inside the target line.Also tilt the shoulders a little more, so your left shoulder is higher than the right. Don't worry if your weight is slightly favoring the back foot. It's difficult for it to be any other way. For club selection, take as much loft as you need to easily clear the lip, even if you have to sacrifice distance. Hopefully you already knew to do that.
For a decent lie in the middle of a fairway bunker, make a normal iron swing with two adjustments: (1) Stand a little taller, and grip down on the club so your swing bottom isn't too deep in the sand. (2) At address, focus on a spot just in front of the ball on your target line. When you swing, limit any lateral movement away from the target in the backswing and then try to enter the sand with the club at that spot you are looking at. This ensures you'll strike the ball solidly. Still struggling? Feel like your chest stays more centered over the ball.
A shallow downswing won't help you for this lie on the right. You need the opposite. Set up in a wider stance, put pressure into your left leg, and grip down on the club an inch or two. When you swing, hinge the club up quickly in the backswing and then swing down on the ball while keeping the lower body fairly stable. Don't swing out of your shoes. You need control here. The ball is going to come out low and hot, so be prepared. Unfortunately, this lie is probably going to cost you a shot. Just make sure it doesn't cost you more.
Corey Lundberg is one of Golf Digest's Best Young Teachers. He works at Altus Performance in Dallas.