Golf tips: Fairway Bunker

Play ball in the middle of the stance to insure you hit the ball first. Dig your feet in for stability. Your stance can be square or slightly open. Your number one goal is to get out of the bunker.

Pick the ball cleanly off the sand. Any sand between the ball and club will mean a loss of distance. Be sure you do not swing down sharply. Limit your lower body movement.

Remember to grip down on the club to compensate for your feet being lower in the sand. Swing only as hard as your stance will allow.

To get the ball out on the first try. As with all sand bunkers the major consideration is to get the ball out of the bunker on the first try. Make sure you choose a club that has enough loft to clear the forward lip of the bunker. Never more than a four-wood. You may not get to the green but at least you will get out of the bunker. Swing with your normal rhythm so you stay under control. Try to pick the ball cleanly out of the sand to get the distance you want.

To develop sound mechanics when using long irons and woods out of the bunker. Position the ball toward the middle of your stance. Dig your feet in and restrict your lower body action. Sweep the ball out, do not hit down. Your weight should favor your left side. Swing only as hard as your stance will allow. Follow through and finish high.

To dedicate yourself to learning the fairway bunker shot. Hitting a long iron or wood out of a fairway bunker requires concentration and focus. It is not something you learn by doing once. Spend a little time practicing and mastering the basics so you will be prepared when the time comes.

Do and Don'ts
Stress the upper body while trying to pick the ball out cleanly. Remember, take enough club to get over the lip. Do not compound your problems by poor club selection.