As a kid, I had nowhere to practice, so I went to the beach. It turned out to be great, because on sand you have to stay steady and hit the ball first. Try it: Get in a bunker, center the ball in your stance, with your hands ahead, and let your arms hang freely. Swing back, keeping your left arm straight--not rigid.
KEEP IN CONTROL
As I finish my backswing, my weight is well planted--there's no need to lift the left heel. Through impact, your goal is to hit ball then turf, or in this case, ball then sand. So hit some from a bunker, then play the same shot from grass. You'll learn to maintain balance and control the clubhead.
HOW TO SWING TO THE TOP
If you swing back too upright, you create a big gap between your right elbow and body. To close that gap, place a handkerchief under your left arm and practice swinging to the top without it dropping out. If the handkerchief does fall, your arms have moved too far from your body (inset). Your arm swing and body turn would then be out of sync, with the club going back too far, and you'd have to time your release through impact to control the shot. Release too much, and you hook; too little, and the ball goes right. Instead, keep your upper arms tight against your torso. Your elbows will stay tucked in, making it impossible to overswing or let your right arm pull away from your body.
SEE A WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY
When I hit a ball into deep trouble, all I want is a chance to make a swing. Whenever a golfer can swing the club, there will be a way out, however small, be it forward, backward, left or right. If the ball sits on an upslope, you might have a chance to hit it high, maybe through a gap in the trees, like I'm doing here. I call this una ventana de oportunidad (a window of opportunity). You also need a pretty good lie. If you're confident you have those elements, go for it. Keep your balance, and once you've made the commitment to play it, be decisive in the way you hit it. This might be a better option than a penalty drop.
PLAY THE WATER LIKE SAND
Don't attempt to hit a shot out of water unless at least a quarter of the ball is above the surface. Use your pitching wedge instead of your sand wedge because its sharper leading edge is better for splashing. First step: Put on your rainsuit. Then take a firm-footed stance, and open the face. (You're in a hazard, so don't touch the water with your club before the downswing.) Swing back steeply, and enter the water behind the ball. Resist the temptation to look up early to see the shot.
GET SET TO MAKE PUTTS
I tend to stand slightly open when I putt, but I think a square stance offers the best view. Whatever your stance, make sure your eyes are directly over the ball. You have to be able to turn your head and look straight down your desired line. As for my hands, I think of them as working as one unit (left). That's easier to achieve if they exert the same pressure on the club. Grip lightly with both hands: Even a small child should be able to pull the club away from you.