As an amateur, learning to properly hit a punch shot is important to keep our golf scores low. This type of shot is designed to fly close to the ground in order to avoid obstacles that would impede our progress. Generally, this takes for in the way of branches, because we hit a wayward shot, from trees that suddenly decided to get in our way. Regardless of the obstruction, learning to hit a punch shot is very important to ensure we can extricate our ball out of difficult situations with the least amount of strokes.
As I delve into today’s topic, I quickly realize that the nuances to hitting a punch shot produce a thousand different techniques. The primary aspect that mostly influences the type of punch shot is the position of the ball and the obstacles being avoided. However, having a strong foundation of how to play a punch shot is critical in order to adapt to challenging hitting conditions. This video by David Leadbetter provides a great starting point for all amateurs. Take a look:
Leadbetter’s advice to use a lower lofted club, choke up on the grip, place the ball back in our stance, only take a 3/4 swing and truncate the follow through are spot on. The idea of the punch shot is to try and maximize our distance, minimize the danger what we are avoiding, and ensure the ball is in play for our next shot. It is not about trying a miracle shot that might (emphasis on might) work, but to tip the scales in our favour during high risk/reward shots.
My last thought leads to the biggest mistake amateurs make when hitting a punch shot. We try to over maximize the results of this recovery shot. We, myself include, try to hit the ball farther than the shot really allows and as such end up with a very low success rate on a relatively easy shot. It is important to adopt some course management strategies to understand that hitting our ball to a safer distance actually improves our chances for lower golf scores.
Before closing for today, I wanted to show you a video by Justin Rose on how to hit a punch shot. You will notice that the four fundamentals presented by Leadbetter are apparent, however Rose adds a couple of other points worth sharing:
Rose’s two points about weight distribution and quieter lower body movements helps take our basic punch shot to the next level. If we combine what Leadbetter and Rose suggests, then you will have a versatile shot in your bag that can be used in many different scenarios.
I developed the use of a punch shot many years ago and it has often saved me strokes. I think this is a fundamental shot that all amateurs should learn and master. I don’t know about you, but I am not always straight and having the ability to hit the ball back in play more often than not definitely lowers my scores. Do you use a punch shot often?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!