This is the best way to get out of a fairway bunker, says Top 100 Teacher

Rickie Fowler hits a shot from a fairway bunker

The key to hitting an effective shot from a fairway bunker? Picking it clean.

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Getting out of a fairway bunker seems like it should be a straightforward ask. So why does it sometimes turn out to be so penal when you end up in one?

The key to hitting a successful fairway bunker shot, says Top 100 Teacher Brian Manzella, is hitting the ball first, and effectively picking it off the sand without taking a divot in front of the ball.

“The best fairway bunker players are sweepers,” Manzella says. “Tom Watson was a sweeper, a picker. He was a great fairway bunker player. David Toms isn’t banging down on the ball. He was a good fairway bunker player.

“[Jack] Nicklaus was a sweeper, pretty much, with the longer clubs, and he was a phenomenal bunker player.”

There’s a lot we can learn from the game’s greats. Keep reading for Manzella’s best tips for mastering fairway bunkers.

Brian Manzella’s keys to hitting it out of a fairway bunker

1. Choke up — but not too much

“You need the club to play a little shorter,” Manzella says. “So just barely choke up on it.”

10 ways to master fairway bunkers (so they don’t ruin your round)
By: Kellie Stenzel, Top 100 Teacher

2. Don’t move around too much

Get yourself set to hit the ball with more of an arm and shoulder swing, with minimal movement from your bottom half.

“Work your feet in,” says Manzella, “and then say to yourself: I’m going to mini-freeze everything from the chest down.”

3. Visualize

Manzella recommends using a mental image that he says works for him to this day: think about getting the leading edge of your club under the ball’s equator.

“You might think, that would seem almost like blading it. Yeah — and you’re gonna get out,” Manzella says. “If you can get that club two dimples under the equator of the ball, it’s a perfectly picked shot.

“I’ve used that a million times myself.”

Give Manzella’s tips a try to keep fairway bunkers from ruining your next round. And for more tips from Manzella, click here.

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