How to save par from a fairway bunker

Golf Tips

Dan Whittaker takes us through how Ian Poulter tackles this shot and how you can improve your greens in regulation stats from the sand

The fairway bunker shot can prove to be a nightmare for the club golfer but it doesn’t have to mean a bogey or, often, something worse.

Notice how quiet his leg action is. Poulter has got quite active legs generally in his swing but here he has a very stable base which is a must. Anytime you’re in the fairway bunker you have to find a consistent bottom to your swing, if you struggle with fatting it out of the fairways then you’re going to struggle with a fairway bunker shot because all the energy is going to go straight in to the sand.

I’d encourage more people to get out and practise the fairway bunker shot and find your low point in the sand and then try and get the feeling of what the bottom of the arc feels like. You very often see Poulter hitting all of his shots at 100% but this swing looks so smooth and the tempo and the rhythm look a lot calmer than normal.

Because you’ve got a slower rhythm, you’re going to stay in balance and it’s going to be a lot easier to deliver the club at the bottom of the arc still with a consistent swing and that’s something I see as being a key skill with the fairway bunker shot.

Fairway bunker shot: What to practise

So many amateurs just practise on a flat lie on a driving range, they don’t experiment with the fairway bunker shot. It’s just a case of learning how to have that smoothness, tempo and swinging a bit more within yourself and feeling the bottom of the arc.

You’re ever only going to find out what works best for you with the experimentation of it when you practise in scenarios that you would find yourself in on the course rather than being surprised when it comes up in a competition.

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Dan Whittaker is an elite golf swing and performance coach based at High Legh. For more information, visit his website

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