The punch shot is one of the most effective plays a golfer can put into practice when faced with challenging, windy conditions. Here Ryder Cup star Alex Noren notes the fundamental aspects to successfully playing a penetrating punch.
“Professional golfers need to have the punch shot in their arsenal – and so should any golfer who wants to be competitive. I practice a punch shot a lot because, in a way, it grooms my swing because at times I can ‘back off’ a shot and then I start to hit ball too high. So when I practice hitting punch shots a lot, my swing tends to get better, and my normal shots gets better.
“When I was growing up I travelled to Britain to learn how to play links courses, and back then in Sweden, The Open was the only Major shown on TV so we loved watching golf being played in that setting. Then when I came on Tour I was used to playing those courses, and I think that upbringing helped me – especially when I won the Scottish Open in 2016.
“When I’m hitting a punch shot, I’m thinking about a few things – what shape I want to hit it, how low I want to keep it and where in my stance the ball should be. Here are three important points that must be done if you are to play a successful, low punch shot through or under the wind.”
1 – Position the ball in the back of your stance
I see a lot of amateurs making the mistake of wanting to hit a punch, but setting up incorrectly to hit a high shot with their ball positioned near their front foot. Moving the ball towards your back foot will help you keep the ball low.
2 – Position the club with the shaft leaning forward
Moving your hands forward and leaning the shaft forward will close some of the loft on the club, and hitting the ball with the club in this position will make the ball stay low. So although I might have an 8-iron in my hand, this position will make it seem more like a 6 or 5-iron.
3 – Hit down on the ball to create a divot
With the ball positioned towards your back foot and your hands pressed forward with the shaft leaning forward, you need to maintain the steep angle this creates through impact. If you don’t hit a divot, chances are you’ve probably raised your body up, which can cause you to thin the shot, or duff it. Don’t be afraid of committing yourself to take a big, sharp divot.