The Punch Shot Golf: 5 Tips to Execute Perfectly And Get Back In Play

When it comes to golfing jargon, sometimes you have to discard the literal interpretation for most of them. The same holds true for the punch shot in golf, as there is no physical punching required!

If you find yourself dealing with challenging winds on the course, then the golf punch shot is there to save the day.

This article covers everything you need to know about golf punch shots, including:

  • Definition of a Golf Punch Shot
  • 4 Scenarios When to Use a Golf Punch Shot
  • 5 Tips Execute a Punch Shot Golf
  • Distinction Between a Golf Punch Shot and A Low Golf Punch Shot
  • Similar Golf Shots To The Golf Punch Shot

Alternatively, especially in strong headwinds and crosswinds, choosing a low-blow shot (also known as a knockdown shot) makes sense. Follow these golf tips for a successful shot in any situation.

Let’s dive into it!

punch shot golf - 5 tips to execute perfectly

What Is a Punch Shot In Golf?

A golf punch shot is a controlled, low-flying shot that stays closer to the ground than regular shots. Golfers use the punch shot to maneuver under overhanging branches, through strong winds, or to recover from difficult lies like thick rough or fairway bunkers. 

The objective is to keep the ball trajectory low, limiting its height and maximizing roll upon landing. The golf punch shot is versatile and essential in a golfer’s toolkit, particularly in adverse weather conditions or when faced with challenging course obstacles.

golf punch shot from the bunker

When To Play A Punch Shot Golf: 4 Scenarios

Here are some situations where a punch shot golf can come to your rescue:

Golf Punch Shot Scenario #1: Narrow Fairways

When facing tight fairways, a golf punch shot offers better control, reducing the chances of straying off-course and finding yourself in difficult positions. This shot enables you to maintain accuracy while still achieving a respectable distance.

Golf Punch Shot Scenario #2: Strong Headwinds or Crosswinds

Wind can drastically affect ball flight.

The punch shot allows you to keep the ball closer to the ground, minimizing the impact of the wind and ensuring a more accurate shot.

When facing gusty winds, a punch shot can differ between landing on the fairway or struggling with a challenging lie.

lady golfer executing a golf punch shot

Golf Punch Shot Scenario #4: Low Hanging Obstacles

Overhanging branches, bushes, or other obstacles can impede a full swing. A golf punch shot helps you avoid these hazards and keep the ball on target. You can successfully navigate these obstacles by choosing a lofted club and adjusting your setup without sacrificing distance or control.

Recovery Shots

After an errant The Tee Shot In Golf: 6 Tips To Hit Straight Every Timetee shot or a poor approach, a punch shot can help you get back in play and avoid compounding mistakes. Instead of attempting a risky and ambitious recovery, a well-executed punch shot can move the ball back into a favorable position, giving you a better chance to save par or bogey.

punch shot golf to the hole

How To Hit a Punch Shot In Golf

Here are some essential tips to help you execute the perfect golf punch shot:

Tip #1: Ball Position and Stance

To hit a golf punch shot effectively, adjust your ball back in your stance, typically a ball width from your usual position. This encourages a steeper angle of attack and helps keep the ball trajectory low. 

Position your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly open your stance to promote a more controlled and accurate shot. This setup enhances stability throughout the swing, crucial for maintaining balance during the lower, abbreviated follow-through.

golf punch shot on the fairway

Tip #2: Club Selection

Choose a club with a lower loft than usual, like a 5-iron or 4-iron. Less loft allows you to keep the ball flight lower at a much lower trajectory.

The combination of club loft and ball position allows you to achieve the desired low trajectory for controlled, reliable shots that will be accurate and have some roll once they hit the ground. 

Tip #3: Shorten Your Backswing

Keep your backswing compact and controlled. Avoid taking the club too far back, leading to a higher ball flight. Instead, focus on a shorter backswing with a smooth tempo. 

A shorter backswing minimizes unnecessary moving parts in your swing, making it easier to stay on the plane and execute a consistent punch shot.

golfer swinging

Tip #4: Maintain Hands Ahead of the Ball

Crucial to a successful golf punch shot is maintaining the position of your hands ahead of the ball at impact. This de-lofts the clubface, reducing the ball’s launch angle and ensuring a lower, more penetrating flight. 

By leading with your hands, you avoid flipping the club through impact, which could add unwanted loft to the shot, resulting in a higher ball flight.

Tip #5: Controlled Follow-Through

Incorporate a controlled follow-through to enhance accuracy and reduce spin on the ball. Limiting the follow-through prevents the clubface from adding extra loft to the shot, maintaining the desired low trajectory. 

Focus on swinging smoothly and maintaining the club’s alignment with your target during the follow-through, ensuring a clean strike and consistent ball flight.

golf punch shot from the bunker to the green

Is There a Difference Between a Golf Punch Shot and a “Low Golf Punch Shot”?

Occasionally, the terms “punch shot” and “low punch shot” are used interchangeably. This is owing to the fact that lowering the trajectory is the main objective of each shot. The swing is one significant distinction between a punch shot and a low punch shot, despite the similarity in objectives.

A low golf punch shot nevertheless makes use of a full swing (albeit it’s significantly slower than a typical swing), whereas a punch shot has an abridged motion. This is because a punch shot tries to “punch” the ball out of danger, whereas a low punch shot tries to travel further at a lower trajectory.

So think of a golf punch shot as being “abrupt”- just like a punch. In comparison, a low punch shot is slower- similar to a takedown. A low punch is sometimes referred to as a knockdown shot.

punch shot golf from the rough

Similar Shots To The Golf Punch Shot

Explore similar shots to the golf punch shot, like the bump and run and the stinger shot, which provide unique advantages for golfers seeking greater precision and versatility on the course:

Bump and Run

The golf bump and run shot requires less wrist movement during the golf swing, making it easier to accomplish and an overall more effective shot for most amateur players. This type of golf shot hits the ball low. This is especially useful when you’re near the green and need to get the ball closer to the pin.

The advantage of bump and run is that you can do it with any of the clubs in your bag. It’s also great when you need to roll the ball on the green and are uncomfortable with higher-lofted wedges.

To achieve a great bump and run, squeeze the club, narrow your stance a bit, and execute a controlled swing (often a half or quarter-type swing). 

punch shot over the water to the fairway

Stinger Shot

The stinger shot is a variation of the punch shot popularized by Tiger Woods. It’s a type of low-trajectory golf shot that surpasses the carry distance of a punch shot. This shot is executed by striking the ball with a square clubface and minimizing the height of the follow-through.

The stinger shot comes in handy when you want to keep the ball at a low level with precise control while still needing it to cover more distance than a punch shot. 

Golfers often employ the stinger shot when faced with strong winds that could disrupt their regular straight shots with spin. By utilizing the stinger shot, they can pierce through the wind and accurately land the ball on the desired spot, even in challenging wind conditions.

golf lady swinging from the buker

Punch Shot Drills

Improve your Punch shot skills with these effective drills designed to improve your accuracy, control, and adaptability on the golf course:

Alignment Stick Drill

Place an alignment stick or any straight object on the ground, mimicking your target line. Practice hitting punch shots, ensuring the club stays under the alignment stick throughout the swing. This drill helps maintain a shallow angle of attack, which is crucial for punch shots. Focus on swinging along the target line and avoiding excessive steepness in your downswing.

Narrow Target Drill

Set up two alignment sticks or golf clubs slightly wider than the width of your golf ball. Challenge yourself to hit punch shots between these narrow targets, improving accuracy and control. This drill hones your ability to keep the ball on a consistent path, ensuring you can confidently navigate tight fairways or tricky obstacles.

Punch Shot Distance Control

Choose a specific target and practice hitting punch shots with different clubs to control the distance. Start with a higher lofted club, like a 7-iron, and progressively work your way down to a lower lofted club, such as a 5-iron or even a hybrid. 

happy golfer

Key Takeaways: The Punch Shot

Punch shots are a valuable skill in golf, allowing you to save strokes and maintain control in difficult situations. To master this technique, focus on correct form, club selection, and ball position. Incorporate regular punch shot golf drills into your routine to build muscle memory and handle a variety of situations.

Perseverance and patience are essential. Developing this skill takes time and dedication. Accept the challenge and enjoy the process of improvement, knowing that it will improve your overall performance on the golf course.  

Next Up: 15 Golf Bag Essentials For A Successful Day On The Links

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After graduating from the Professional Golf Management program in Palm Springs, CA, I moved back to Toronto, Canada, turned pro and became a Class 'A' member of the PGA of Canada. I then began working at some of the city's most prominent country clubs. While this was exciting, it wasn't as fulfilling as teaching, and I made the change from a pro shop professional to a teaching professional. Within two years, I was the Lead Teaching Professional at one of Toronto's busiest golf instruction facilities. Since then, I've stepped back from the stress of running a successful golf academy to focus on helping golfers in a different way. Knowledge is key so improving a players golf IQ is crucial when choosing things like the right equipment or how to cure a slice. As a writer I can help a wide range of people while still having a little time to golf myself!

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