Links golf is well known for its unpredictability, however one thing that the competitors at this year’s Open can be assured of is that the wind will blow at some point during the four-days play.
How strong and when it blows can often make the difference between being able to contend or not, and the ability to control the spin and flight of the ball and limit the wind’s affect will be critical.
As with all shots, the set up is key to giving yourself the opportunity of executing the low punch or knockdown correctly and with consistency.
• Depending on the strength of the wind the first thing to consider is club selection, as more often than not it will be essential to take more than normal
• Grip down slightly to help improve control
• The ball should be moved back in the stance marginally while keeping the hands slightly ahead
• It is important not to fall into the common error of taking the name of the shot – punch – too literally as this frequently leads to swinging short with the arms and then hitting hard or forcing the shot. The resulting strike will have too much spin and create the opposite result to that required
• It is imperative to turn as you normally do, get the left shoulder under the chin on the backswing and the chest facing the target on the follow through
• The feeling will be that you are actually hitting the ball softer, thereby taking spin off it – this will create the penetrative flight required
• The follow through will be balanced and you should notice there will not have been too much rotation in the club head which will finish in front of the chest as a result of the hands being quiet during the swing