Dr. Jean steps on the club face to determine the height of a shot out of the bunker. FLO MASCIADRELLI

If you play golf in the Lowcountry, you will probably get into a fairway bunker almost every time you play. Fairway bunkers are actually easier to hit out of than greenside bunkers – if you follow some of my suggestions here.

Check the lip of the bunker first, since loft on this shot is the most important variable. Choose a club that has enough loft to clear the lip. 

How can you tell if the club’s loft can clear the lip? Take your club outside the bunker, even with your shot, and step on the clubface with the face up. The shaft will point at an angle and that height will tell you how high the ball will come out if hit correctly. 

If you can clear the lip easily, then use one more club than you would hit at that distance if it was on the grass, e.g., a 6 iron instead of 7 iron.

For longer bunker shots, hybrids are a great choice of club because of their rounded sole and loft.

Choke up on the grip about one inch and stand closer to the ball.

Stand taller than normal and dig feet only enough to stay balanced.

Ball position is in the center with a wider square stance to minimize weight shift. 

Keep your lower body “quiet” with as little leg movement as possible.

Focus your eyes in front of the ball ¬– this will promote ball first contact. You don’t want to hit behind the ball like you do in a greenside bunker.

Hit the ball thin and “pick it” off the sand taking no divot. 

Many driving ranges don’t have fairway bunkers to practice out of. Pinecrest Golf Club, where I teach, has a great place to practice fairway bunkers. 

Another option is to take some sand out on the driving range and place it on a divot. Place a ball on the sand and hit no sand when executing your shot. 

Finally, a great way to practice this shot is on the golf course when it isn’t crowded. Try it with different irons and hybrids. Practice shots from various distances and various lips when you are out playing for fun. 

Playing golf from the sand is more fun than going to the beach.

Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local golf courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris@gmail.com; golfdoctorjean.com