Tips for Playing Fairway Bunkers

Published 17/09/2009 08:00:00

Fairway bunkers vary from the deep pot bunkers you find on Scottish links courses, to the generally shallow ones that dot local municipal courses. When you land in a fairway bunker, the first thing you must do is assess how high the bank is in front of you, and how close you are to it.

Then you can decide how prudent it might be to go for a distance shot, or just take your medicine and simply try to get out - using whatever escape route is open.

The first rule with pot bunkers is to avoid them.


Almost invisible

Generally, fairway bunkers are almost invisible, often hidden from view when you are standing on the tee. The land may even slope towards them, drawing the ball in.


So look at a course planner before you play (if one is available). Try to establish where the bunkers are and how far away they are placed, taking into consideration the distance you hit your chosen club off the tee.

This may mean you play more conservatively distance-wise, in the hope of avoiding fairway nasties.



  • Look at the top of the ball. Grip down the club slightly and consider only a club that has enough loft to clear the top of the bunker.
  • A sand wedge is a good bet on deep bunkers with high lips - give careful consideration as to where you want to play your next shot from. You could still save par with a good approach shot.
  • The closer to the lip you are, the more loft you will need and thus the more distance you will sacrifice.
  • A shallow lip on the bunker will allow you to hit any club right up to a 5-wood (or equivalent hybrid club).


1.  Question
In a bunker If you fail to hit ball out on first or second attempt can you decide to take back on the line relief?

comment by Doreen - 09/11/2020 20:55

Add your comment