One of the most difficult things for golfers to learn is that in any sand shot you are not supposed to hit the ball. The key to any sand shot is that you are supposed to hit the sand first, about an inch or two or more behind the ball. The sand then acts like a pillow. It cushions the force of the impact of the clubface.
That allows you to make an assertive swing through the sand on such a short shot, and the ball flies out on a displaced pillow or cushion of sand. That's why a tentative swing in a sand bunker often gets stuck in the sand. The ball moves only slightly, leaving it in the bunker to be played again.
Sand wedges are built with plenty of loft to give your shot the necessary height to fly out of the bunker. They also are built with a sole feature - bounce - that helps keep the club from digging too deeply into the sand.
So, during your next bunker shot remember, your goal is not to hit the ball. What you want to do is to pick a grain of sand that is an inch or two behind the ball. Aim for that grain.
As you bring the club down to the sand, be sure to let your forearms take a leadership role and swing through the ball with an assertive swing. You want to concentrate on a full finish to be sure that you lift the cushion of sand up and that you get the ball onto the green