Waukesha County Seniors Monday Golf League

TIPS

the wood from a fairway trap

One thing you know you can't always expect to do on the course is fly the ball past fairway bunkers on par fours. On those occasions when your drive finds a fairway trap, you probably assume that you have no choice but to reach for your wedge or 9-iron, play out safely and try to get on in three.

Sometimes this will be the case, but there are other times when you can save a stroke by going for the green with a lofted fairway wood. Here's when you should try and how to go about it.



Good Lie, Low Lip

Lofted fairway woods (5-, 6- or 7-) are ideal from fairway bunkers because they get the ball into the air quickly and don't have an iron's sharp leading edge, which digs into the sand.

Use the wood only if the ball is sitting cleanly on firm sand; you have to hit the ball first, not the sand. If the ball is plugged or in a cuppy lie, take a short iron and hit it as far as you can.

Start the swing with your left arm pushing the club straight back from the ball. Make less of a weight shift to the right side than usual so the club will move in a more upright arc.

Make a slightly shorter-than-normal swing for balance and control, then pull down with your left arm and hit the ball first (concentrating on the top part of the ball might help you avoid hitting "fat"). Extend your arms straight toward the target after impact.

Don't be afraid to reach for a lofted wood when the conditions are right. You just might reach the green.

From the side of the trap, check the height of the front lip to estimate the starting trajectory of the shot necessary to clear the lip. Moist fairway traps are shallow, so unless the ball is close to the lip getting out shouldn't be a problem. But you'll be hitting with a more descending blow than usual, so the ball will start a little lower, and this must be taken into account.



Wider Base, Ball Back

The key to a successful shot is hitting the ball before hitting the sand. Widen your stance by about two inches to create a stable base that will keep you from moving off the ball during the backswing. Dig your feet into the sand just enough to feel secure and grip down half an inch to compensate. Your weight should favor your left side slightly to encourage a descending blow.

Position the ball just ahead of the center of your stance, two or three inches behind normal with a fairway wood. Your left arm and the clubshaft should form a straight line with the hands slightly ahead of the ball.

Start the swing with your left arm pushing the club straight back from the ball. Make less of a weight shift to the right side than usual so the club will move in a more upright arc.

Make a slightly shorter-than-normal swing for balance and control, then pull down with your left arm and hit the ball first (concentrating on the top part of the ball might help you avoid hitting "fat"). Extend your arms straight toward the target after impact.

Don't be afraid to reach for a lofted wood when the conditions are right. You just might reach the green.

Private Lessons 1999 Times Mirror Magazines, Inc., used under license by GolfServ Online, Inc. Instructional information provided by Golf Magazine.


Return to Home Page
Return to Tips Index

If you have any comments or suggestions regarding this web site, please write to me: Ed Matarrese / revised April 7, 2002.