If you're standing over a fairway bunker shot thinking: 'Pick the ball out of the sand,' you're already setting yourself up for trouble. Mike Malaska, who's on our list of Golf Digest Best 50 Teachers, says you should hit the ball and then the sand when you're hitting out of a fairway bunker. To get that good contact, Malaska says you should do these four things:
1. Play the ball back in your stance.
Moving the ball back in your stance pushes the low point of your swing back, so the first think you'll be making contact with on your downswing is the ball, not the sand.
2. Dig your feet in.
To hit a good fairway bunker shot, you have to be stable. Digging your feet in creates a more stable base for your swing.
3. Choke up on your iron.
Malaska says to pay attention to how far you dug your feet into the sand, because you'll want to choke down on your iron the same amount. This move will keep you from chunking it.
4. Balance your weight.
Balance your weight 50/50 on each foot. This goes back to digging your feet in: starting with your weight evenly distributed between your two feet will help keep you stable.
This whole lesson from Malaska is from a one-minute video that's part of a series of 37 lessons we shot with different teachers. It's called How to Hit Every Shot in Golf: what to do on a dogleg, how to play into a crosswind, what to do when you're on the the fringe but up against the rough, how to hit a lag, how to hit a lob, what to do on a sloped lie—you get the idea.
We covered every shot in golf. If you want tips and drills on how to hit all of these shots, check out the video series here.