How to hit a punch shot: 5 keys for playing from under the trees

No matter how straight you hit the ball, at some point you’re going to find yourself in the trees. With towering canopies and dangling branches, it can be an intimidating sight when you find your ball in the forest, but if you know how to hit the proper shot, it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.

To help teach us how to hit the perfect shot from the trees, we’ve enlisted the help of GOLF Top 100 Teacher Lou Guzzi. Check out the video or read below to learn more about how to escape the trees with ease.

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1. Find your window

First and foremost, you need to identify a spot in the trees that you can knock your ball through. The old saying in golf is “Trees are 90 percent air,” and while we can’t verify the veracity of that claim, there is likely a place where you can fit your ball to get it back to safety.

2. Determine your distance

When you know your window, the next step is to find your distance. A punch shot might be a little different than a stock shot, but you still need an accurate distance if you want to hit a beauty.

3. Club selection

With steps 1 and 2 complete, it’s time to pick the right club. You’ll likely want to keep the ball low to avoid those pesky branches, so choose a long iron or hybrid to hit it low.

4. Middle ball position

Set up with the ball in the middle of your stance before you hit the shot. This ball position will make it easier to keep the ball from coming off the clubface with too much loft.

5. Swing size controls speed

When you hit the shot, the size of the backswing will determine the swing speed — a half swing will merit half speed. If you match these elements up, the ball will come out low and running, avoiding tree trouble and on its way back to safety.


Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.