Considered by many amateur golfers as the lesser of two evils, escaping a fairway bunker is the more inviting option than trying to escape a green side bunker.
But the fairway bunker can be a much more difficult shot than it should be if you get too greedy, and this can soon lead to a loss of confidence when you find your ball in a fairway sand trap.
It is a very simple thing to try and avoid, and to be truthful can be applied to many areas of the great game of golf, but we are talking about the fairway bunkers and how what you could consider as confidence quickly becoming an enemy.
And this is how we arrive at one of the most difficult shots in golf, the 50 – 80-yard bunker shot.
It is not a greenside bunker shot, but then many wouldn’t consider it long enough to be a fairway bunker shot so what is it?
In my mind it is without doubt a fairway bunker, after all it is located in the fairway, away from the green.
Now comes the question: How do I play the shot?
This is where your past decisions of being greedy have hurt you. They haunt you.
A 60-yard bunker shot, if played with the right thought process and the correct decision making is no more difficult than the same shot played from the grass.
The technique can be simple, utilizing the greenside technique I have mentioned in previous posts.
Using the technique from a greenside bunker in a fairway bunker for the awkward distance is to eliminate possibilities. All you need to do is change the club to a 9-iron or possibly an 8-iron, which will send the ball further out of the bunker with the same technique you have already practiced.
For the better player, who will be looking to get more control from such a lie, the technique is much more like a pitch shot. You want to clip the ball from the surface pinching down on the golf ball to ensure that you take the ball first.
A few slight adjustments to your pitching technique will ensure that you can successfully escape the bunker and leave a good chance of saving par.
Adjustment 1 – Play the ball half a ball further back in your stance.
Adjustment 2 – Grip the club slightly further down the shaft.
Adjustment 3 – Place a little more weight on your target leg, this will steepen your attack angle slightly.
With the above adjustments you will consistently escape bunkers and have one of the hardest shots in golf under your belt.