Being able to hit an effective punch shot is a really useful skill to have as a golfer. You can use it in several situations around the golf course and if you execute it effectively, it really will save you shots and help lower your scores.
A punch shot deliberately lowers the ball’s trajectory giving it a lower, penetrating flight and so it is great to use when playing into the wind, or as an effective way to escape from the trees and overhanging branches.
Let us look at how to set up correctly for this shot. Play the ball from back in your stance so for right handed golfers, that is to the right of the middle of your stance. Make sure your hands are ahead of the ball and club head at both address and impact. This is absolutely crucial to achieve to keep the ball low. Look to create a really straight line from your left shoulder, down your left arm to your left hand and then down the shaft of the club to the club head. Work on keeping these three points, left shoulder, left hand and club head in a straight line. Have more weight on your left foot, approximately 60% of your weight on your left foot.
Make a shorter backswing with no weight shift to your right foot. Maintain the 60% weight on your left foot throughout the backswing and downswing. Work on keeping the straight line from the left shoulder down the left arm to the left hand and in to the club head as you swing back and this will result in a backswing of only just above waist high. When you play this type of shot, use more club than you usually would for the distance required because of this limited backswing position. If you would usually be using a 7 iron for the distance, play a punch shot over the same distance with a 6 iron. Work on swinging just over waist height and then swing down working on achieving the straight line position with the left shoulder, hand and club head through impact - lean the shaft of the club forwards, with the handle closer to the target than the club head as you strike the ball.
Your follow through will also feel more restricted to a three quarter position and you should work on keeping the club head lower than the ball flight and lower than your hands, so do not allow the club head to release as it usually would.
A great practice drill for this would be to place your stand bag four feet in front of you at the driving range or practice ground.
Set the bag on it's stand and then practice hitting balls through the legs, keeping the ball trajectory low to do this, by working on the points that we have just discussed.