How To Play The Low Punch Shot
1) Take your pick
The low punch shot is a great one to have in your locker when you’re looking for more control or a lower flight, perhaps when playing in to a strong wind. There are two trains of thought here. One is that you put the ball back in your stance.
The other is that you leave everything as normal at address, grip down the club two or three centimetres, put 60-65% of your weight on to your front foot and swing as normal, leaving the weight there during the swing. I prefer the latter, but will talk through both.
2) Club up
Whichever option you go for, you must hit more club that you would normally for whatever distance you have. If I’m 150 yards from the green, I would perhaps choose a 6-iron rather than a 7-or maybe 8-iron. This will ensure that you are able to make a controlled swing, keeping the amount of backspin you create down whilst still ensuring you’re able to reach your target.
As a rule of thumb, I would say no more than one club up if you opt to move the ball back in your stance, but one or two clubs if you opt to keep more of your weight forward throughout the swing.
3) Weight forward
If you go for my preferred ‘weight forward’ approach, nothing changes at first in terms of posture. Take up your normal address position, then rock slightly on to your front foot such that you have 60 to 65 per cent of your weight there. Crucially, your weight should remain there throughout your backswing rather than transferring on to your back foot as in a normal full swing.
This allows the swing to become a little more vertical going back, enabling you to bring the club back into the ball on a steeper path and helping you to punch it away on a lower trajectory. Gripping down the club a few centimetres will bring added control and further enhance that fractionally more vertical swing.
4) Ball back in stance
Again, nothing really changes in terms of posture – all you need to do is move the ball back in your stance to just behind the central position. This reduces the loft to help you find a lower, more controlled flight, but beware that this can also increase the possibility of the clubface opening a little. Try it on the range first before heading to the course – if you are hitting pushes, simply aim a fraction further left than you usually would. From here, just swing as normal.
5) Not too short
Most golfers know that the swing should be shorter with a punch, but I would guard against making it too, too short as that can throw your tempo out.
I think many golfers don’t swing back far enough when punching the ball, so I would recommend a three-quarter length backswing with a good shoulder turn. Think of a pendulum as you then punch the ball away and follow through to the same length as your backswing. This should be a more compact version of your usual swing and it will help to take out a little backspin through impact to keep the flight down.