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Question on Bunkers:

I cannot get distance to get out of a long bunker. Can you help?
--Robert P. from Okatie, SC

Hi Robert. Thanks for writing

Hitting out of a fairway bunker should not be all that different from hitting off of the fairway. Obviously if the lip is high you may need to club down to get enough loft to clear it and as a result you have to sacrifice distance. If the lip isn't a factor, you should choose the same club that you would normally hit.

If you typically struggle and don't hit these shots solid it's a good idea to club up at least one club. The reason a lot of players lose distance is obvious. They take too much sand before the ball and that kills the shot. Make sure to catch these shots clean and try to pick the ball rather than hit the sand first like you would on a greenside bunker.

A good way to guarantee a clean hit is to keep your weight on your front foot and play the ball forward in your stance. Playing the ball forward in your arc makes it possible for you to catch the ball cleanly on the up swing. Keeping your weight on your front foot helps prevent backing up which causes you to hit the shot fat. I play my ball considerably forward and try to make sure my head is over the ball when I strike it so that my weight is moving through the shot. Often times you will catch these shots a bit thin, but that should not noticeably affect your distance.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes.


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