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Fairway bunker shots are not easy. There are a multitude of variables that the sand brings into play, and most of them make your job more difficult.
It’s even tough for the pros to find consistency out of the sand. In 2022, PGA Tour pros only hit 48.5 percent of greens in regulation from fairway bunkers. Gary Woodland led the category with 75.7 percent GIRs from the sand, but his success was a bit of an outlier as second place on the list was a full six percentage points behind him.
All that’s to say, fairway bunker shots are tough — even for the best players in the world. But these shots don’t need to be something you fear. All you need to do to have more success is change one simple thing about your setup.
“What a lot of people have an issue with out of the fairway bunker is as they take a swing, their feet will slip and that generates some backward movement with the head,” says GOLF Teacher to Watch Derek Swoboda. “We hit improper shots out of this fairway bunker.”
To guard against your feet slipping, try digging the inside of your trail foot into the sand.
“We almost create a leverage point like you’re a baseball pitcher,” Swoboda says.
With improved stability in your trail foot, it will be easier to push off during transition and avoid slipping and moving your head.
All you need to do after that is make a golf swing like you normally would. If done correctly, you’ll be able to make a relatively normal swing and make clean contact from the sand.
“That’ll help you hit ball first every single time,” Swoboda says.
Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF.com, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.
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