How to play fairway trap shots

Unlike with the greenside splash shot, where you play that with plenty of knee flex, the fairway bunker shot is all about maintaining your height for a clean strike. That’s why you need to make some subtle changes to your normal approach. But before we get into the technique, remember that you must take a club with enough loft to clear the lip. Being greedy, hitting a good shot and firing it into the face is one of the most frustrating mistakes you can make on a golf course. For the sake of a few yards, it is not worth taking the risk so if you’re worried about hitting a 5-iron, take a six instead!

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Now let’s concentrate on the technique – start by moving your hands down the grip a fraction. Then as you address the ball – taking care over your ball position and ensurimng your stance is as secure as possible – stand a little taller than usual. Both of these elements are designed to bring the bottom of the swing arc up a fraction to ensure you clip the ball cleanly off the top of the sand. Finally, make sure your leg action doesn’t get too aggressive during the swing itself. A big weight shift into your left side at the start of the downswing can cause you to lose your footing through impact and catch the shot fat. Ian Poulter explains how to the play the fairway bunker shot nicely here. So try to remain passive in your lower body, certainly do not try to hit the ball too hard and maintain your balance. If you can take these pointers on board, you should be able to clip the ball away off the top of the sand with power and accuracy.

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