A common mistake in the bunker is rushing: You’re in there, you don’t like it, you want to get out, so you just take your swing at it and try to forget about it. This doesn’t lead to good results. A sound pre-shot routine is imperative to a good bunker shot.
Swing coach Jeff Ritter of Make The Turn Golf says to think about playing pool. Yes, billiards. You know how you rehearse your shot a few times without hitting the cue ball? Ritter says to do the same thing on your bunker shot. Get set up, stance and clubface both a little open, and take a few practice swings feeling like the club will bottom out an inch or two behind the ball. Feel like you would with a pool stick behind a cue ball.
Once you’ve got the motion down, make your swing with that same smooth motion you’ve just practiced, with added acceleration. You’ll see more controlled, more consistent results out of the bunker.