The Matter of Fairway Bunkers Vs Greenside Bunkers

When talking about bunker shots in golf, you really need to divide the conversation into two categories – greenside bunker shots, and fairway bunker shots. The vast majority of greenside bunker shots are ‘explosion’ shot, where the club is put into the sand behind the ball, and the ball is blasted out up toward the hole. Fairway bunkers shots, on the other hand, are picked clean. In a fairway bunker, you are trying to contact the ball cleanly, just like you do when hitting from the grass. This is not always easy, of course, as you need to make nearly perfect contact in order to reach your target with a fairway bunker shot. Any degree of miss-hit here is going to be punished, and you will come up short.

Since the goal in a fairway bunker is to hit the ball cleanly, you are not going to want to dig into the sand too deeply. If you do, you will need to choke down on the club an equivalent amount, so you can still give yourself a chance to make clean contact. The decision to dig in or not is going to be based on the condition of the bunker. If the sand is relatively firm or a little damp, it probably won’t be necessary to wiggle in at all. Your golf shoes should give you enough traction to get through the swing, so you can keep yourself on top of the sand to maintain your normal distance from the ball for the swing.

However, if the sand is soft and fluffy, you may need to bury your feet slightly in order to solidify your footing. Standing on top of this kind of sand is just asking for trouble in the form of a slip, usually as you transition from backswing to downswing. So, if the surface of the sand feels unstable, you’ll want to wiggle your way in until you feel that your footing has improved. Once you reach that point, you will need to decide how much you’re going to have to choke down on the club in order to counteract the height you’ve lost by burying your feet. This may be just an inch or two, or it could even be more. It will always be a little bit of a guess on this point, but do the best you can.

When it comes time to actually hit your fairway bunker shot, the key is to keep your body as steady and stable as possible. You don’t want to be moving up and down dramatically as the swing develops, as those kinds of movements will make it extremely difficult to strike the ball cleanly. Keep your head steady, make a controlled swing, and don’t try to hit the shot too hard. Control is the name of the game here, as only a clean strike will do. Also, be sure to use plenty of club to reach your target, as you are likely to hit the ball at least a little shorter than you would hit it from the fairway.

In the end, the act of burying your feet down into the sand before hitting a greenside bunker shot is pretty straightforward. We hope the tips in this article have helped you gain a better understanding of why you would use this technique, and how it can help you perform at a higher level in greenside traps. As always, you will need to practice this technique if you expect to see it work for you during an actual round of golf. Good luck!