Punch Your Way to Lower Scores

Monday October 29th, 2007
Don't stop turning and keep your club low.
Bob Atkins

Ever sit on your couch and watch a PGA player scorch a ball under a sprawling tree so hard and fast that it makes you drop your Skittles all over the floor? Well now you can hit that punch-shot too.

Why you need it

The punch flies with a piercing, lower-than-normal trajectory that, amazingly, stops with more spin than a shot hit with your standard full swing.

When to play it
The classic punch-shot situation is into a headwind. The lower trajectory allows your ball to maintain its flight pattern without ballooning and falling short of your target.

How to do it

You can hit a punch shot with any iron in your bag. (Plan for a loss in distance equal to one club.) Your primary goal is to get your clubface as square to your target as possible at impact with your weight firmly on your left side. It's a 3/4 swing, which is much easier to produce than a full one. Here are the specifics to keep your ball low when you have to.

Address
Play the ball slightly back of center and forward press your hands so they're in line with your left thigh. Pre-set about 70 percent of your weight on your front foot.

Swing
Make a 75 percent backswing with a tiny shift of weight to your right foot. On the downswing, use the big muscles of your hips and torso to turn back toward the target. Don't get handsy! Keep your left wrist firm at impact, with your hands ahead of your clubhead (just like at address). Keep your clubhead low to the ground after impact. This ensures that your left wrist will lead the way through the hitting zone.

Try This Drill

To make sure your weight is forward at impact (a priority when playing a punch), get into your address position and raise your right heel. Now make your swing. Swinging with your right heel off the ground will stop you from overshifting your weight to your right side on the backswing and help you keep more of it on your forward foot at impact. You can even use this drill for your practice swing prior to playing a punch shot on the course.

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