What would you do after you hit your drive into trees to the right of the fairway? Or what would you do after you hit your drive to the right side of a dogleg-right fairway, with trees blocking your way to the green?
A good and perfectly fine answer could be to chip back into the fairway in order to position yourself with a target line free from trees. In many ways, that would be the correct shot selection but it also costs you a full stroke. What if there was a way to get back into play and to see the ball travel forward towards the hole as well? That is precisely what a fade punch shot could do for you.
As the name suggests, a fade punch shot is a type of golf shot that stays low to the ground – under tree branches – and spins towards the target when it is over the fairway and safe to do so.
Use the tips below to learn how to hit a fading punch shot and get your ball moving towards the target.
Keep the ball flight low
Fade the ball on a left-to-right spin towards the green (or along the fairway)
Aim the Clubface Towards the Left of the Trees
And the first tweak you need to make is to aim the clubface towards the left of the trees where it is safe, your initial ball flight direction.
Indeed, if you want to see the ball fly just to the left of the trees then you need to point your clubface towards that initial target. That is because according to the new golf ball flight rules, the initial ball direction is dictated by the clubface direction, to the tune of 85%. Where your club is aiming is where the ball will start its flight.
Open your Stance Relative to your Clubface
That means that you will aim your feet even more to the left than the clubface.
The fact that your stance and clubface directions are mismatched is precisely what will produce sidespin in your golf shots. And the greater the mismatch, the greater the sidespin.
Since your clubface is now open to the club path (dictated by your feet in your stance), the ball will travel on a left-to-right spin typical of a fade, for right-handed golfers.
Use a Low Lofted Club
Now that we know how to fade the ball next we’ll make adjustments in order to keep the ball flight low. And that begins with your club selection. You can only keep the ball low as long as the loft in your club is low enough.
Using a high lofted club such as a wedge will not allow you to keep the flight low since those clubs are made to send the ball high over a short distance.
Select a low lofted club instead. A 6-iron or below will give you plenty of loft to send the ball in the air and with pace. It will protect you from seeing the ball shoot straight into tree branches ahead.
Just remember that the lower the loft, the lower the ball flight, generally speaking.
Ball Back in your Stance
Another tweak you need to make is how you position the ball in your stance. We have already covered how to position your feet and clubface in relation to each other but where should we place the ball in relation to your two feet?
In order to keep the ball low it is easier when you position the ball slightly back in your stance.
Doing so will help you strike the ball on a downward arc, helping in de-lofting the club while also protecting you from fat shots.
Grip Down on the Club
Gripping down helps gain control by putting you closer to the ball. The shorter the shaft, the more control you have over the golf ball.
Fading a punch shot is definitely a delicate shot indeed and the better the control, the better the chance you have at success.
Use a Short Backswing
Lastly, you need to make one final adjustment and it concerns the swing itself. Since you are within trees and presumably restricted in your movements by branches you can’t swing as you normally would.
But that’s fine because when you want to hit a punch shot, you want to keep your backswing and follow through low to the ground.
Keep your golf swing compact and low to the ground and watch your ball start off just to the left of tree trouble and curve back into play with some pace.