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Fairway Bunker Shot Guide

You’re going to make a few adjustments to ensure clean contact when hitting from a fairway bunker. Your stance width is going to remain the same as a shot from the fairway, depending on the club you choose. If you have a low lip in front of you, you can pretty much pick whatever club you want to hit and it’s going to get you out of the bunker. If I’m 175 yards from the green, normally from the fairway that’s going to be a 7 iron. When I’m in the bunker, there’s a couple of reasons I recommend you club up to the 6. You can make this decision for yourself after considering the 4 things that really make or break hitting from the fairway bunker: your ball position, your base, your grip, and your swing.

Starting with ball position, the best way to accomplish this shot is to move the ball slightly back in your stance, maybe an inch from its normal position. My philosophy on any full shot from the fairway: the ball position is always going to stay the same relative to your left foot. This is usually slightly ahead of center for me. Moving your ball position back should set you up to catch the ball first and not the sand.

Next, consider your base. You want to create a stable base, so try to dig your feet into the sand, maybe a half-inch to an inch, in order to stabilize your lower half.

Since you are settling your feet into the sand, you need to grip down by that amount to counteract your feet. Gripping down will help you gain a bit more control.

Finally, because you are gripping down the club, the ball will travel a little shorter, maybe a half club. You want to either swing harder than usual or take an extra club and swing less than full to achieve the correct distance.

So, the next time you’re in a fairway bunker, remember to club up, grip down, and move your ball position back. You’ve got this.

Written by
Brad Smith
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Written by Brad Smith