Hybrid Golf Clubs Can Take Fear Out of Fairway Bunker Shots

To some golfers, the only place more frightening than a greenside bunker is its sibling, the fairway bunker. Learn to use your hybrid clubs in these hazards and you may come to relish the opportunity.

When you find a fairway bunker, it’s tempting to grab a sand wedge or other lofted club and just get the ball out. But this defeatist tactic costs you precious yards, and possibly a chance to hit the green. If you’re afraid to hit a full iron shot from the sand, the hybrid may prove less intimidating.

First things first. Any time you’re in a fairway bunker, study the height of the lip you must carry relative to your distance from it. Visualize the ball’s flight matching your hybrid’s loft angle -- 22°, for instance. If you’re sure that a solid shot will clear the lip, proceed as follows:

  • Place the ball in the middle of your stance and grip down about ½” on the club. This will shorten the club’s length, making it easier to control and reducing the risk of a fat shot.

  • Make sure your feet are planted firmly, but don’t dig into the sand as you would in a greenside bunker. This causes your swing to bottom out behind the ball – a big no-no in a fairway bunker.

  • Make a sweeping swing to nip the ball off the surface, standing tall throughout the swing to prevent hitting behind it.

The hybrid’s rounded sole and large, confidence-boosting head make it ideal for long sand shots. Give it a try and your days of pitching out sideways – and giving up valuable strokes – may be over.