Developing the punch shot

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Published 17/05/2010 08:16:50
 

When the fairways are hard and fast or the wind is in your face, a low-flying punch shot will optimise the distance and control of each shot by minimising backspin and ensuring the ball does not climb too far into the air.

Although mastering this variation is relatively simple, it does require some careful work on the driving range. Here are all the mechanics you need to produce a successful punch shot.

 

Ball position

The position of the ball in relation to your feet at address can have a huge bearing on the trajectory of the shot. If you are planning a lower flight than usual, move the ball back in your stance a couple of inches and place fractionally more weight than usual on your left foot.

These adjustments help you find a steeper angle of attack into the ball, de-lofting the club through impact to deliver a lower, piercing ball flight.

 

Grip down the shaft

When setting up for a punch, move your hands to the bottom of the grip - almost on the shaft. This not only reduces the length of the club but also restricts the natural fluidity of your swing.

In this instance a slightly constrained movement has a positive effect, because it reduces the amount of backspin generated at impact and thus prevents the ball ballooning high into the air.

 

Follow-through

For any normal shot a full follow-through is evidence of a committed strike, but this can actually work against you when playing a punch. If you are planning a lower flight make sure that your follow-through is shorter than usual. This prevents your hands from releasing too quickly through impact and impairing backspin on the ball.

 

Word of warning

If you move the ball back in your stance without adjusting your grip, the clubface will naturally sit open. It is crucial that the face is pointing directly at the target before you take your grip and stance.

 

Club selection

Because the backspin created at impact has a huge bearing on the trajectory of the shot, it makes sense to swing slightly slower than usual in order to reduce backspin and prevent the ball from climbing too high. When the wind is in your face, take an extra club and swing more softly; what you lose in distance, you gain in control.

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