A fairway bunker is separated from the green by either the fairway of rough and can be anything between 20 metres from the green to 275 metres or more.
Depending on the length of the shot your choice of club selection can be anywhere between a fairway wood to a sand iron.
When assessing a fairway bunker shot, you must work out the height needed to clear the front lip of the bunker and the distance that your ball has to travel to reach the green.
Your first consideration is to clear the the bunker lip. The closer the ball is to the front of the bunker the more height that will be required to clear the lip.
If you can not reach the target , maximum distance is therefore your next priority.
Don't be greedy or you will suffert he consequences. the ball will usually stay in the bunker and maybe a worse position than before.
Fairway bunker shots are different than those played close to the green. They are actually played in the same fashion as the rest of the shots in the game, ball first, ground second.
The fairway bunker technique is the same for every club. The aim of the stroke is to pick the ball cleanly of the sand without the clubhead touching the sand prior to the impact.
If the sand gets trapped between the ball and the clubface (Green bunker shot you must) it acts like a cushion slowing the clubface down and loses you both power and direction.
Favour a ball position that is centered and grip down slightly, regardless of what club you have selected. It is far better to strike the ball first than sand first.
Shuffle your feet in lightly. Keep in mind that for every inch you descend into the sand the ball elevates, thus increasing the potential to hit a ‘fat’ shot.
Keep your lower body very quiet and work towards maintaining your elevation throughout the swing – any change in altitude could lead to a mishit - stay level.
Hopefully this information will help you next time your ball lands in a fairway bunker.