Your Four-Step Fairway Bunker Escape Plan

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Poor planning dooms most fairway bunker shots. Your first move: Check the lie. If it's bad, forget going for the green. Splash a shot back to the fairway. But if the ball's sitting nicely, your next checkpoint is the lip-consider the longest club that has enough loft to clear it. Then simply pull the stick that gives you the length to reach the green, or gets you as close as possible.
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To ensure clean contact, make some two-inch tweaks: Choke down on the club 2", position the ball 2" behind its regular spot (taking into account the club you're using), and pull your left foot back 2" from the target line.
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Set about 60 percent of your weight over your front foot and hold it there as you swing. Keep your legs very quiet. You've done it right if your nose slides slightly ahead of the ball as you near the top of your backswing.
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Quiet legs ensure that you catch the ball first and the sand second. The key? Unwind your upper body around your stable legs. If your weight remains over your left foot, you'll pure it-and the next club you pull will be your putter.