1. Pre-empt the strike
Controlling your ball flight is a sure fire way to lower your scores and shouldn’t be blighted by over-complication. The punch shot is a fantastic addition to any player’s arsenal and can be used in a variety of conditions, not just when it’s windy.
By ultimately taking much of the spin off the ball and using a more restricted action, there’s less that can go wrong, making it an equally handy shot to have when you’re maybe searching for your swing mid-round. Many of the adjustments can be made in the set-up in a bid to pre-empt the impact factors we’re trying to achieve.
The ball being slightly back in the stance, with the hands and weight slightly forward, will encourage the required compression to keep the ball flight down and spin less. Factoring in a couple of simple swing thoughts will ensure the ball will be under your full control, no matter how tough the conditions.
2. Take something off
Generally speaking, the harder you hit the ball, the more it spins. That’s not a hard and fast rule but it’s certainly a valuable guideline. Think of it this way: when you hit a wedge relatively gently around the green for a chip shot, the ball comes off reasonably low.
When you hit the same club much harder for a full shot, the ball will spin considerably more and fly much higher. We’re basically going to extend this rule into a fuller swing. Any punch shot requires the control to ‘take something off’ the shot through a more efficient swing that will often have a more curtailed backswing and follow-through.
By applying the recommended set-up and maintaining the weight on the front foot during the backswing (limiting the transfer of weight seen in a standard shot), you’ll stay over the ball a little more and restrict the length of your backswing.
3. Work your hands
The hands are set ahead at address. Attempting to maintain this throughout the swing will limit the loft at impact as you rotate through to a ‘sawn off’ finish (to no more than chest high) that is caused through the desire to keep your hands leading the club through the shot for as long as possible.
With the ball being slightly back in the stance, we’d look for a relatively shallow angle of attack into the ball, taking a thin divot through maximum compression at impact.
4. Good rhythm
For the final ingredient, think tempo. Take enough club to allow yourself to maintain a smooth rhythm throughout the swing. No flash speed or extra effort to hit the ball harder to keep it down. Remember, this game so often works in opposites.
More speed is going to increase spin and add height so picture that greenside chip shot and try to extend it. Think of it as a long chip-and-run shot, where you keep that same smooth speed throughout.
Try this and you’ll have the knock-down shot mastered in no time. It’s a great shot to have in the bag for keeping the ball out of the wind or finding some consistency during a tough period in your round.
Andrew Jowett is the Head PGA Professional at Gleneagles. For lessons, call Andrew on 01764 694343. Follow him on Twitter at @andyj1504.