The first thing we need to do from a fairway bunker is to evaluate our circumstances. This includes the lie of the ball: is it sitting up or sitting down, and will you have access to contacting the back of the ball cleanly? Are you on an upslope or a downslope? – as this will affect how high the ball will launch. Do you need to clear a lip, or the edge of the bunker in order to get out? Last of course is how far you are from your intended target? Is it realistic to get there in one shot, are we laying up, or are we trying to advance the ball as far as possible down the fairway?
In selecting your club, be sure to take enough loft to safely clear the edge of the bunker. As you set up to the ball, especially in softer sand, dig your feet in as this will provide a more stable foothold during your swing. Correspondingly, choke down on the club for increased control and also to account for your feet now being lower in the sand.
Position the ball slightly back in your stance than what is normal for the club that you are using. This accommodates a ball first, then sand, slight descending angle of attack. Take your normal athletic, aligned stance, with your weight centered and balanced. When you swing the club, maintain your centered balance and a stable lower body, limiting excess motion and weight shift. Maintain your posture and stay level without squatting or moving your body up or down during the swing. I don’t suggest swinging at full power from a fairway bunker, in exchange for a better chance at clean contact and precision. Strike the ball with a sweeping motion or slight descending blow, with the understanding that hitting the ball a little bit thin, or picking it clean, will yield better results than hitting into the sand behind the ball.
In summary, the first thing you’ll need to do in a fairway bunker is assess your circumstances. This includes your lie, access to the back of the ball, any lip or bunker edge that might be in your way, and the distance that you want the ball to travel. Select a club with plenty of loft that will ensure that the ball will clear the edge of the bunker, even if this means coming up short of your ideal target. Create a stable stance and set up, and maintain a level, balanced posture throughout your entire swing. Picking the ball clean, or hitting it thin, out of the sand is much more desirable than hitting it fat, or hitting behind the ball.