The Knockdown Punch
The punch shot is not really a shot at all. It’s nothing but a long, hard chip. It may be hit with anything from a 6- or 7-iron to a pitching wedge, depending on the length of the shot and whether you want it to run a long way or stop quickly.
The punch is a wise shot to play on holes where you have a wide expanse of firm fairway leading to an open green, as is often the case on the British and Irish courses. But it’s probably most useful in a heavy wind, as its low, boring trajectory is less buffeted by the breeze.
The address position is almost the same as for a chip shot. You grip down on the shaft of the club and play the ball back near the centre of your stance, so that your hands are well forward and about two thirds of your weight is on your left side. However, this is one short shot that you may play from a square stance – there’s no need to open up your body for a more vital hit, since your object is to hit the ball with a relatively shallow angle of attack.
Another aspect of the punch shot is that it is played with a relatively fast swing, like a boxing jab. It’s a quick back-and-through motion with some snap to it. Keep your wrists out of it, and try to keep the club as low to the ground as possible throughout the swing. The fellow-through is very short – your hands shouldn’t move much past your left knee.
Practise this one on the course a few times if you can, to get a feel for the distance the ball goes. Yardage is virtually irrelevant on the punch shot – you can punch a wedge 100 metres but you can punch a 6-iron the same distance – so get a feel for the way this shot behaves when hit with each of your clubs.