Bunkers are a bad thing for many of us duffers. Players that just play for the fun and the fellowship often struggle with bunker shots. If that is you don’t feel bad you are by no means alone.
Among the most difficult bunker shots is the long fairway bunker shot. You know the one where the proper shots requires you to pick the ball cleanly off the top of the sand. Most of us find that to be a very difficult thing to do with any success at all much less reaching the green with it. For most of us we pull that shot off maybe one in ten chances or so.
Do you have trouble with it?
Add in an awkward stance and you compound the odds of success exponentially.
I played a round at my home course a few days ago with someone the started added to our group. His name was Wilson. He had a decent golf game and we enjoyed his company.
Wilson ran into some issues on the 7th hole with the fairway bunkers. The 7th is pictured here. Notice the bunkers protecting the outside of the dogleg and the fairway bunker just short of the green.
The story goes like this. Wilson’s tee ball barely trickled into the corner of the fairway bunker on the right of the dogleg. When we found it Wilson knew he was in big trouble. The ball did not roll into the middle of the bunker and he was forced to stand with his front foot in the bunker and his back foot out of the bunker.
He had not only the awkward stance to deal with but there is a significant lip on the front of the bunker too. Making the green some 180 yards or so away seemed near impossible to all of us but Wilson.
He pulled his 5 iron, no lay up for this guy, and attempted the shot. I have to admit he hit it better than I expected but still caught it some heavy which made it come up about 70 yards short of the green. Further he didn’t adjust for his stance properly so he not only hit it short but also had a bit of a pull hook ball flight.
You guessed it. Instead of landing in what would have been an ideal layup area, which would have been a good miss and along his chosen line to the green, he hit it into the fairway bunker short of the green.
As luck would have it, this ball didn’t land in the center of that bunker either but ended up in a very similar lie as the previous shot. This time he had to stand with both feet outside the bunker putting the ball more than 6 inches below his feet needing a long bunker shot to reach the green in 3.
Predictably his shot came up short. A chip and 2 putts later he makes double. He didn’t have to suffer through a big blow up hole like this. There is a better way.
These shots are very difficult even for the touring pros so we can’t expect to make a whole lot from this kind of lie. That was Wilson’s first and biggest mistake. He would have been far wiser to lay up to around 100 yds and wedge in close from there. He would of had a chance at par and would do no worse than bogey most likely.
Being aggressive can work for you in the right situation. We’ve all made the impossible shot at some point in the past and that memory sticks with us and encourages us to “go for it”. More often we fail to pull that off and end up with a disaster hole instead.
We have literally written the book on golf trouble shots. We did so because we know how many strokes ordinary players lose attempting these uncommon shots. Strokes they can’t afford to sacrifice but often do.
Our ebook, How to Conquer Golf’s Trouble Shots, is written to help these same golfers improve their skills and overcome these challenges. We’ll cover the proper adjustments and swing techniques that will get you back on track quickly. It will help you play better golf and shoot lower scores. Guaranteed.
When you are faced with unusual bunker lies creating an awkward stance I would suggest (strongly) that you consider playing the safest, smartest shot possible. You will actually save more strokes that way over the long haul that you spend.
Just ask Wilson.
You’ll run into all sorts of trouble on the course over time. Discover all the tricks to making the best of these bad situations here: How to Conquer Golf’s Trouble Shots