How To Hit A Low Punch Shot In Golf (5 Steps)


Struggling to get the ball out of the trees and back into the fairway?

Many golfers seem to struggle with the simple punch shot in golf and often find themselves deeper in trouble after a disastrous punch shot.

A successful punch shot can save you several shots during a round of golf and is essential to get your game to the next level.

The reality is that every golfer is going to miss some fairways and end up in a bad spot from time to time.  Not compounding an already difficult situation is the key and possibly even setting yourself up to save par is the second level that we want to help golfers get to.

Make sure you follow the 5 steps below and make sure you practice your low punch shots!

How To Hit A Low Punch Shot In Golf?

There are severals keys to the low punch shot in golf:

  • Select a low lofted club
  • Pick a safe landing area
  • Play the ball in the middle to back of your stance
  • Keep your backswing shorter 
  • Deloft the club through impact

Below we will take you through the 5 steps to help you pull this shot off with tips in each step to help you become an expert in this area. 

I am sure we have all played with the golfer that seems to save pars from the worse situations, you too can become that player with the right guidance and enough practice!

Step #1: Select a low lofted club

Most golfers will have several options in their bag for a punch shot.  I would highly recommend a 3 iron or 4 iron, but 3 or 4 hybrids can work as well. 

I have a friend I golf with that likes to punch with a 3 wood or driver, but I believe these clubs should be used in only certain situations where you need to pull off the great shot to save a match.

The lower lofted clubs help you keep the ball low.  The last thing we want to happen is for the ball to get up too quickly and hit a branch and fall right below the tree.  The low punch shot is often used because there is a tree between your ball and the hole.

Step #2: Pick a safe landing area

When you get to the ball and notice that there is a tree or obstacle between you and the green, start looking for the best place to save par by getting up and down.  This will required you to hit some sort of pitch or chip that gives you a putt inside of 10 feet.  

What happens from time to time is that the golfer just takes the shortest route to the hole and can sometimes short side themselves for their chip shot. 

Instead, I would recommend looking towards the front of the green and trying to get it in the neck of the hole, where there is often a fairway and the green will be more receptive to your next shot.  Don’t compound the already back situation by short siding yourself and leaving a near impossible chip. 

The goal here is to give ourselves a reasonable look at a par putt.

Leave yourself a reasonable chip or pitch shot! Have a plan!

Step #3: Play the ball in the middle to back of your stance

By keeping the ball towards the middle or back, it helps us keep the loft down on the club.  Remember the goal is to keep the ball low enough to get past the tree.  We want to get the ball somewhat in the air, but hit a low punch shot that will fly hard and run hard when it hits the ground.

If the ball is too far forwards you might have a tendency to add loft and even pull the shot.  Having a clear target in the distance will help you keep the ball online, under the tree, and hopefully land and stop in an area that is reasonable to hit a chip or pitch inside of 10 feet.

Keep your weight on your front side with the ball somewhat towards the back of your stance.  The weight forward will help ensure you strike the ball clean and it also helps keep the ball lower. 

Make sure you don’t chop down on the ball and take a steep angle of attack, this will just cause the ball to rise faster and you could hit a branch and lead to more trouble.

Quality video on how to hit a punch shot!

Step #4: Keep your backswing shorter 

While we want to maximize our distance, the first goal is to get the ball safely back into play. With the low punch shot, we don’t need a full backswing leading to some potential bad results. 

Instead keep the back swing short, use your hands and punch the ball towards your intended target area.

A longer backswing could lead to a higher lofted shot which could strike the tree.  Instead, keep that weight forward, hands forward and hit down and through the ball.

Even your follow through can be abbreviated as you try to deloft the club and ensure you keep the ball low enough.

Step #5: Deloft the club through impact

With the 3 or 4 iron or hybrid we want to try to possibly deloft the club somewhat and at a minimum make sure we aren’t adding loft.

The key here is your right hand for a right handed golfer.  You can have the feeling that your right palm is pointing more towards the ball at impact or down towards the ground. 

Once that palm comes through and starts facing the target or the sky, you will be adding loft.  You can picture the club head sitting in your right hand.  As your right hard opens towards the target or sky you are adding loft.  The more it is pointed to the ground, you are taking the loft away. 

The right hand controls this shot and the loft on all shots in golf.  Give yourself the task of keeping the palm of your right hand facing more towards the ground!

Tip: Course Management

One of the keys to avoiding these situations is managing the shots you are selecting to hit.  Golf can be difficult enough and when we play low percentage shots, the game becomes that much more difficult.  Have plan as you head to the course of how you will attack each hole and stick with the plan.

If you are trying to get your game to the next level, make sure you check out our series linked below:

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

BONUS TIP – Practice These Shots!

Think about this for a second…how many golfers do you see practicing these shots at the driving range?  I know personally, I don’t see many golfers. 

However, the truth is that we will all face these shots and we need to set ourselves up to possibly make par, but nothing worse than bogey.  A bad punch shot can have some devastating results and can lead to big numbers and destroy a quality round.  Or if it happens too early in the round, make your next 3-4 hours miserable.  

So get out and practice these shots and try out different clubs to see what your go to club will be in this situation.  If I have enough room below a tree I will sometimes use a 5 or 6 iron to allow myself to carry the ball further before the ground becomes another variable that I have to deal with!

Trying To Get Better At Golf?

Here at golfJourney365, we are all trying to get better at golf.  We love the mental and physical challenge as we try to shoot par or lower as often as possible. We understand the challenge and embrace the challenge to reach our full potential.

While not all rescue shots or shots in golf are created the same, we know that the round of golf will present different challenges each and every round. 

This chart below is a good chart to practice at the range and try to hit the 9 different shots or shot windows.  Not only will this help when you are in a bad position on the course, but also it will help you attack different pin placements and control your misses in a round of golf.

Did You Know?

The typical scratch golfer is able to save par 54% of the time?  This is the key to playing better golf.  We believe you should continue to get better at ball contact, controlling the curve of the ball and having enough distance to paly the course and then the fourth major area to practice is the short game.  

It is the great eraser of shots int he game of golf.  We believe that the golf swing might feel different from day to day, but with enough practice we should be able to chip consistently every round!

Here is the full recipe to reach the scratch level!

What Does Scratch Golf Look Like – Stats Breakdown

THE STATS – The Recipe

Greens in Regulation67%
Fairways Hit53%
Putts Per Hole1.67
Scrambling54%
Sand Saves59%
Average Driving Distance251

Some Major Takeaways From The Table Above:

  • 12 out of 18 greens in regulation seems doable on an average course.  This is 2 out of every 3 holes, we must be able to hit the green in regulation.
  • The 53% for fairways hit can always be a bit misleading.  Are the other 47% of drives still in play and the only barrier is a bit of rough?  Or is the ball now behind the tree.  A stat I would like to see is if you have a clean, unobstructed shot to the green.  I believe this is the game changer in scoring
  • The putts per hole seems somewhat achievable.  Where this number can be thrown off is if the one putts are to save par or to make birdies after a green hit in regulation.
  • The scrambling stat is not surprising at all.  I would have thought that one must be above 50% to become a scratch golfer.  I have heard that PGA Tour players expect to chip a ball within a 3 foot circle – 7 out of 10 times.  If a scratch golfer can do this 5 out of 10 times and then make one putt outside of 3 feet, they can easily average around 60% in scrambling.
  • The sand saves is an impressive number as it is actually higher than the scrambling percentage.  This shows that scratch golfers save par more from the sand then the rough.
  • The average driving distance is actually lower than I would have anticipated.  A 250 driving average only takes around a 103 mile per hour swing speed.
Excellent video on what a scratch golfer looks like:

My Secret To Golf Improvement

Let’s face it, in order to get really good at golf, we must practice frequently.  About three years ago, I made the leap and invested in a golf simulator build for my garage. 

I went with a SkyTrak Launch Monitor and the TGC software and can now play over 100,000 courses including Augusta, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Whistling Straits. St. Andrews and many other of the top 100 courses in the world.

This golf simulator setup, which is more affordable that you might imagine, has been a game changer.  I can now play golf everyday of the year regardless of rain, snow, cold weather or time of day.  I can practice or play rounds of golf.  I can stand in the 11th fairway at Augusta and with the auto-rewind feature I am able to practice my approach shots from various differences.

It is worth checking out through Rain or Shine Golf as they offer some incredible packages along with financing offers that are difficult to beat.

Some direct links to Rain or Shine Golf for pricing and financing:

One last thing that has helped me gain significant distance is the SuperSpeed Training System.  This overspeed based system where you train every other day for about 10-15 minutes with different swing sticks can help you increase your swing speed by 5-8% which can be 20-30 yards.  Who wouldn’t want an extra 20-30 yards.  Plus it helps improve your mechanics.

SuperSpeed Golf – Use Discount Code Golfjourney365 for some savings!

Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better

What does this mean for you?  I believe in the following recipe to get better:

1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor.  Here are some options:

Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:

2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed.  Here are some options:

Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:

3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier.  Here is a series on breaking through:

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

4 – Practice Frequently

Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system?  It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:

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