shallow approach to key punch shots

When golfers struggle with the conventional method for playing a punch or knock-down shot, they typically miss right and short, hitting a slight push-fade that balloons in the wind – the exact opposite of the intended result.

This is caused by a swing that's too steep coming into the ball, and perhaps too far inside the target line. The first two fundamentals to check are your ball position and weight distribution. If the ball is too far back in your stance – right of center for a right-hander – you'll pick the club up too abruptly, return it to impact too far inside the line and fail to release the clubhead. The same thing happens if excess weight – more than 55-60% -- is balanced on your left side at address.

If your ball position and balance are correct and you still flare punch shots to the right, check your takeaway. The club should stay low to the ground, just like a drive or standard iron shot, on the way back. Pick it up too quickly or hinge the wrists to early and you'll initiate a steep downswing angle.

A final tip if the above adjustments don't do the trick: Try standing slightly farther from the ball, which will flatten your swing plane and shallow the club's path.

Shallow Approach Key to Punch Shot Proficiency

Do you know how to hit a punch shot? If not, you are missing out on a valuable opportunity to add an important piece of versatility to your game. Punch shots are played lower to the ground than regular golf shots, making them useful in poor weather conditions, or when you want to bounce the ball back to a target. Professional golfers frequently turn to punch shots when they need to get out of a tight spot, and you should learn how to do the same. Of course, before you can actually use punch shots on the course, you need to learn the proper technique to execute these shots successfully.

In this article, we are going to highlight the key fundamentals which will be used to hit a solid @punch #shot. As mentioned in the title of the article, some of this is going to relate to your angle of approach. However, there is more to a good punch shot than just your attack angle. You'll need to bring together a number of techniques into a single package before you can produce reliable, solid punch shots time after time. As you might expect, it will be necessary to learn how to hit these shots on the driving range before you can employ them with any degree of consistency on the golf course.

One common misunderstanding we need to get out of the way right off the bat is the thinking that some golfers aren't good enough to try punch shots. You might be thinking that your game isn't at a high enough level yet to work on anything other than standard swings. That is a mistake. Not only will learning a new type of shot add versatility to your game, it will actually help you develop your standard swing. You are going to learn about your normal swing during the process of developing your punch technique, and your entire game will benefit in the long run.

As is always the case in golf, there are going to be some struggles early in the process. Your first punch shots might not be pretty – don't let that deter you from continuing to work on this skill. No progress is going to take place in your game without first going through the process of hitting ugly shots on the range. That's just how golf works. Instead of letting these struggles get you down, look at them as an opportunity to improve. Every bad shot you hit on the range is going to take you one swing closer to mastering the art of the punch shot. Only golfers who are willing to be patient throughout the growing pains that come with a new shot are going to wind up making progress in the end.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

The Uses for a Punch Shot

The Uses for a Punch Shot

It is really worth taking the time to learn how to hit a punch shot properly? Yes – it certainly is. In this section, we are going to make it clear just how valuable a punch shot can be by highlighting a number of the main uses for this method. Once you see how many different places around the course will call for a punch shot, you will have no trouble finding the motivation to learn this technique.

Some of the most important uses for a punch shot are as follows –

  • Playing into the wind. Even if you don't yet have a punch shot in your arsenal, you probably knew already that you can use this shot effectively when playing on a windy day. If you face a difficult approach shot into the breeze, you can use a punch to keep the ball down and minimize the effect of the wind. Sure, you will lose some distance off of your normal shots, but that would happen anyway because of the wind blowing in your face. It is much easier to get the distance right, and to keep the shot online, when you use a punch shot.
  • Hitting a narrow fairway. Punch shots are not only for approaches hit into the green. You can just as effectively use a punch shot from the tee, as long as you pick the right opportunity. The best time to use this kind of shot is when you are playing a short, narrow hole. If you are facing a par four with a tight fairway and a hazard in play, using a punch may be a great decision. The punch-style swing will make it easier for you to hit the fairway, and sacrificing distance won't be a problem because you are playing a short hole. Using your punch shot effectively is just like using any other shot in your bag – you need to know how to pick the right opportunities. It would be silly to play this kind of shot on a long, wide-open far five, but using it on a narrow, short par four makes all the sense in the world.
  • Dealing with a pressure situation. When you start to feel some nerves as you prepare to hit an important shot, you might doubt your ability to hit the target with your standard swing. After all, a standard swing requires a full release, and sometimes it is tough to convince your body to release the club through the hitting area when you are tight. To counteract that tightness, consider hitting a punch shot. With a punch, you don't actually need a full release because you are going to intentionally hold off your finish. That means this is a perfect shot to use when the pressure is on. As long as you have mastered your technique in practice, you should be able to pull off a punch shot under pressure nearly as well as you can hit it on the range.
  • Attacking the back of the green. Any experienced golfer can tell you that hitting an approach shot into the back of a green is actually one of the toughest challenges in the game. Not only do you have to cover some extra distance as compared to attacking a hole location in the front or middle of the putting surface, but you'll also need to avoid hitting your shot over the back. Hitting an approach shot that flies too far is a costly mistake, since chipping from over the back of the green to a back hole location is almost always a challenge. By opting to use a punch shot when playing into the back of the green, you can land the ball earlier and take some of the risk out of play. Use a couple of bounces and some roll to reach the back of the green and you won't have to worry about flying your shot completely over the putting surface.

Punch shots are incredibly useful in the game of golf, and you will only find more and more uses for them as you move along. Once you are comfortable with the technique and confident enough in your ability to put it into action, you will begin to look forward to each opportunity you have to show off your new skill.

Punch Shot Rules

Punch Shot Rules

If you are going to produce a quality punch shot on a reliable basis, you need to follow some rules. These rules don't have as much to do with your technique as they do the thinking behind the shot. Once you understand these rules, you will understand how punch shots are supposed to work. Then, in the next section, we will explain how you can build your technique to suit these rules.

The most important things to understand about a punch shot are as follows –

  • Spin is your enemy. This is the first rule of punch shots. When you are trying to hit a punch, you are trying to keep your backspin rate down as low as possible. Backspin is going to cause your ball to rise up into the air, and that is not the desired result in this case. Backspin is useful in many cases in many different situations on the course, but this is not one of them. The adjustments you make to your standard swing technique should be based on trying to keep as much backspin off the ball as possible.
  • You should intentionally reduce your swing speed. This point goes hand in hand with the previous rule regarding backspin. Swings which produce a high club head speed through impact are also going to impart a great deal of backspin on the ball. By intentionally taking speed out of your swing, your backspin rate is naturally going to come down. When we get around to talking about physical technique, some of the adjustments we have you make are going to be directly tied to creating a lower swing speed. In the modern game, golfers tend to be obsessed with power – which is why so many people struggle with the punch shot. If you are going to be successful with the punch, you need to set aside your desire for power and instead commit yourself to a relaxed, comfortable swing speed.
  • Don't rush the swing. Since this shot is played with a short, compact swing – more on that later – you will be tempted to rush through the swinging motion in order to get the ball on its way. This is where many golfers go wrong. Despite the fact that you aren't making a full-length swing, you still need to take your time and allow the club to move around your body properly. Rushing through your punch shot technique is only going to lead to disappointing results. Specifically, you will tend to miss these shots out to the right of the target if you rush. Before hitting any punch shot, take a moment to focus on the swing and remind yourself to give the swing all the time it needs to unfold. This quick mental reminder should be all you need to get into the right frame of mind.

Some golfers struggle to learn the punch shot simply because they make it too complicated. This does not have to be a complicated shot – in fact, it should be kept as simple as possible. Instead of trying to complicate things, you should focus on the basics which are outlined above. That is, you will be trying to keep the spin rate down, keep the swing speed down, and avoid rushing through the shot. If you can allow those rules to guide your actions when hitting a punch, everything else should take care of itself.