HOW TO PLAY A FAIRWAY BUNKER SHOT

Pinehurst No.2 will showing off its new course renovation at this years Men’s and Women’s US Open championship.  The design team of Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, have restored the natural and strategic features from the original 1907 design of Donald Ross by ripping out 35 acres of turf and replacing it with wasteland bunkers and native wiregrasses.

This means that you will be seeing a lot of fairway bunker shots at this years US Open assuming the players manage to avoid the wiregrasses.  In this article I’m going to talk through the very simple steps you need in order to play a fairway bunker shot.

Firstly you need to make sure that you pick a club with enough loft too avoid the lip of the bunker or the wiregrasses in the instance of Pinehurst No.2.

The best way to then get a solid contact on the ball is by having a shallow angle of attack unlike a green side splash shot.

Set Up

  1. The first thing to do is to move the ball further forward in the stance, this works like hitting a driver as it creates a less descending blow and less chance of the club digging into the sand.
  2. Normally in a green side bunker you would wriggle you r feet into the sand to create a solid stance and lower the arc of your swing, in a fairway bunker you do need grip but be careful not to lower your swing arc too much by going to deep into the sand.  Just a gentle wriggle will do so as to give you grip but not lower your swing arc.
  3. You can also choke down the club, which again lowers the swing arc.

fair bunker

Swing

  1. Look at the top of the ball not the back of it, this will help bring your strike point further forward.
  2. Grip the club a little tighter, this will help shorten the muscles in the fore arms, thus again reducing the swing arc.
  3. A slightly shorter more compact back swing works for me as I feel I can keep my balance with the loose sand beneath me.
  4. Swing with in yourself as this will help you get more consistent contacts, by trying to force the swing its more likely you will get a miss hit and in most cases it will cause a steeper down swing.

fairway bunker 2

You will see some strange variations of the fairway bunker shot at this years US and Women’s US Open’s what with the wiregrasses but I’m sure you’ll see plenty of shallow swings in the vast wastelands that border the fairways at Pinehurst No. 2.

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