However, I can't seem to get any distance out of fairway bunkers.
Currently, I'm adopting the same approach as when I play the greenside
bunkers but with a longer iron.
Oh no.....I'm cringing ;) You open your stance, the clubface of your long iron, and strike the sand an inch behind the ball to get out of fairway bunkers? The reason this is done in greenside bunkers is to get the ball out of the bunker while landing it softly enough to hold the green, let alone stopping the ball as close as you can to the hole (and if you can spin the ball, that's a huge plus!).
The problem is that I don't get any distance.
Playing a shot from a greenside bunker is not a distance shot.
How to play a shot out of a fairway bunker:
- Take one or two extra clubs.
- Place the ball a little farther back in stance than normal.
- Dig in a little (sand is slippery if you don't get to the bottom of it!)
- Swing while keeping your lower body as still as possible.
Above is a list I got from the following article. Throughout my normal swing, my left leg flexes. During my bunker shot, my left leg is (athletically - slightly bent) stiff until I make contact. I will admit, it takes an enormous amout of leg strength to keep your lower body as still as possible.
Also, another thing that isn't listed above is to strike the ball first. Keep in mind how high the lip is before you choose your club. If the lip is high, I would take a higher club to move the ball forward and out of the bunker. Aside: Striking the ball first is also crucial for shots off pine straw.
EDIT: (based on KeithS's comment) If the ball is buried, just get the ball out of the bunker and give yourself a better look for your next shot. It is not practical to strike the ball first in a buried lie or fried egg. If more than the bottom quarter of the equator of the ball is buried, I would just pitch out.