How To Play This Shot?

Playing a familiar course today and several times I was presented with this scenario. I’m anywhere from 30-70 yards from the green but I’m off the fairway in the trees. I have a line of sight to the pin and the entire green but there are low hanging limbs 15-30 yards in front of me. They’re maybe 12-15ft or more off the ground.

I need to pitch it out but I can’t get any air underneath it. Basically, I’m trying to punch it up there. I struggled with that a lot today when punching with a long iron. I wasn’t getting it off the ground and long grass was grabbing it and killing the momentum. If I did get it in the air, I hit the branch.

I want to learn these types of shots and practice them b/c my errant approach game puts me in this bind at least a few times every round!

So how would YOU play this approach shot? Thanks for any feedback!

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As an elite punch out player, I recommend hitting the highest lofted club that you can reasonably get below the overhanging branches. Shorten your backswing as needed and make sure to accelerate thru the ball.

From 60-130 yds I normally use a 6 or 7(occasionally 4-5 if I need to go really low), play it back of the stance just inside my back foot so that it delofts and try to hit it hard enough to carry 60-80% to the green, depending on rough thickness and ground firmness. It’s basically a long pitch shot swing with a mid iron instead of a wedge.

You can hit this shot on the range too but harder to simulate without the trees


It’s tricky, but… for this you’re trying to punch out with a higher-lofted club (can be a wedge depending on specific circumstance).

Basically a similar technique - ball back, weight forward, lotta shaft lean … take the club straight back and low, not too far and very little body turn, then really punch thru (not down on) the ball hard with your hands leading / holding the shaft lean.

It’s a cool shot (if it works, when you need it … which I have on occasion…) … practice it on the range … good luck!


That’s funny! You must be good buddies with Club Pro Guy :joy:


Laird delivered a Master Class on this shot during the Shriners today.


That shot on 17 was absurd. As someone who had money on Wolff I was counting my winnings…then laird goes and gets up and down from narnia!


Agree. This would be a 7 iron all the way for me. Off my back foot. Hooded, but lofted just enough to get it off the ground. Think when you’re just off the green and you’re playing a bump and run with the same club - just a tad more aggressive. Like has been said before, accelerate, don’t decelerate. Any loss of momentum and that rough will snag your club face and the ball will go nowhere.


Awesome guys and gals. Thanks so much!
You helped me identify two mistakes. One, using a 5 iron prob wasn’t enough loft to get it up high enough and two, I wasn’t accelerating through the ball nearly enough.

Going to take some of your tips to the range and practice this until I’m comfortable with it!


@golfingbrock has it. Most players don’t use enough loft for this shot.


This is definitely a shot that needs to be practiced to be able to pull it off on the course… it’s also good to teach yourself about adding and decreasing loft at impact…

My focus is on having my hands way ahead of the ball and “pulling” the club head through the shot. That helps me deloft at impact and keep the ball low… it also helps generate spin.

On the other side of that, I’ve been practicing throwing my blade into the ball ahead of my hands on wedge shots… completely opposite move, but still working on face angle control.


If you have a range with trees around it, go drop ten balls in the woods and get creative with getting them out.

Otherwise maybe practice a bit on the course when traffic is light.

For me this shot is flying 2/3 of the distance taking a few skips and hopefully getting up on the green. Ending up green side with a straight forward chip is a great result. Have to fight the urge to get greedy :slight_smile:

I will actually break with some of the other folks, and tell you that I play this shot half ball FORWARD in the stance. I won’t get into the technique, but this is how ole Monte Scheinblum and Milo Lines teach it, and it helps create a shallow path. You can keep that face shut with body movement / sequence / intent. I hit punch shots and fairway bunker shots with essentially the same technique (Scheinblum video is “three lefts”)


Gonna look for that one - thx!

Just watched Laird’s shot on 17th. Imagine playing against someone who pulls that off! Incredible. Seve-like.

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What Brock said. I had a 40 yard shot today, similar to what you described. I used a 9 iron back in my stance. Got it on the green and almost made a birdie.


I play this type of shot forward as well and really focus on not letting the club head pass my hands to make sure I don’t add loft. Playing it back in my stance causes me to fat it too often. I don’t really know why, but playing the ball slightly forward is essential for me to make good contact. I’m happy to hear there are people who actually teach this way so I know I’m not completely out to lunch.


I was able to throw some balls down on the range today in the trees that line it and practice this shot specifically (thanks for that red!)

I was using 7 iron and my basic body turn pitch shot motion with just a little extra speed. I found deporting the club or playing it back wasn’t leading to good contact. Center of stance and slight shaft lean forward provided what I needed. Ball stayed ~5ft off that round and flew 15-20 yards then rolled a while.

Now I have options when I’m stuck in jail. Thanks fam!



Playing the ball center or one ball forward improves my contact. You may not hit it as low or with as much spin, but that is the trade off for improved contact.

By leaving it center or one ball up, you can pre set your weight left and leave it there :slight_smile:


Great thread and suggestions around here. My technique over the past month for pretty much any shot under 60 yards has been feet together or at most two balls apart, reverse overlap grip, and a punch swing. I’ll just choose the club based on the flight I want, anything from my lob to a 5 iron if I need a low punch out of the trees.


Narrow stance is a great suggestion!

For me its narrow stance, weight forward, ball back. Focus on pulling my hands through.


Figured this out for my game as well this year. I knew I liked to play normal shots forward, but it took me all season to realize that this was also the cure to all of my skulled punch attempts.