Once a golfer develops enough confidence to be able to get the ball out of a bunker, the question often changes from how to get out to how to control the distance and height that the ball comes out of the sand.
There are three ways to do this.
The first is simple. Use the correct tool for the job. We have up to 14 golf clubs in the golf bag. It is very easy to categorize a club because of it's name. Professionals do not use a rescue club just when they get into trouble. They also do not always use a driver to begin a hole. Likewise, in a bunker, the correct tool also needs to be used for the job.
If the shot in hand needs to be a high and short one, use a higher lofted club such as a lob wedge. If the ball needs to go longer, use a lower lofted club such as a 9 iron. Using different clubs allows the shot to change but not the technique, which means that it becomes much easier to retain consistency throughout any shot.
The second way to change how far the ball travels from a bunker is to change the length of the backswing. Swinging back longer or shorter alters the amount of power that can be put into the shot without hitting it harder or softer. The main thing to remember here is to always maintain the same rhythm of swing. The tendency is to hit the ball harder on a longer swing and softer on a shorter swing, breeding inconsistency to the shot. It is the length of the swing that needs to change the distance of the shot, rather than the power of the swing.
The last way that can change the distance that the bunker shot travels is by using a simple drill to take more or less sand during the stroke. Lay two tour sticks on the sand in the bunker, in front of the stance, positioned at 90 degrees to the body alignment. Position one tour stick three inches behind the golf ball, and one tour stick one inch behind and slightly away from the golf ball, so as not to hit it during the shot.
During this practice, hit alternate shots, aiming to hit into the sand at the one inch mark and then the three inch mark. Each time, note how far the ball travels in the air in relation to the two different amounts of sand taken during the shot. When taking less sand on the one inch shot, the ball should fly higher and further due to there being less resistance due to less sand being taken. When the sand is hit three inches behind the ball, more drag from driving the club through more sand should produce a ball flight that will fly lower and roll further onto the green.
So there we have three simple ways to change the distance of bunker shots. Now get in that bunker and practice.