Who: Rory McIlroy
What: 170-yard 7-iron to 5 feet from the hole for birdie
When: Final round of the Quail Hollow Championship
Where: 480-yard, par-4 16th hole at Quail Hollow Club
Rory McIlroy hit two amazing irons on the back nine which cemented his first PGA Tour win. The first, at the par-5 15th hole, was a 206-yard 5-iron to inside 4 feet to set up an eagle. Then at 16, he hit that perfect 7-iron from the right fairway bunker to set up a birdie.
The bunker shot was certainly incredible. But fairway bunker shots like McIlroy’s — flat lie, no lip to clear, ball sitting up — are actually easy to execute if you understand the fundamentals of the shot and you set up correctly for success. To hit solid fairway bunker shots, remember the “Three 2s.”
1. Choke down 2 inches on the grip.
2. Move the ball back 2 inches in your stance
3. Open your stance 2 inches.
Next, dig your left foot into the sand. Don’t dig your right foot into the sand, but kick in your right knee toward the ball and use your right knee as a brace during the swing. While swinging, you start with your weight on your left side and keep it there throughout the motion. At impact, be sure to hit the ball first and then take your divot. The swing is basically a three-quarter punch shot, because the open stance will restrict your backswing.
Mike Adams is director of instruction at Hamilton Farms Golf Club in Gladstone, N.J.