Exclusive tuition tips to help your game from Martin Kaymer, US Open 2014 Champion. Here he explains the Punch, which helped him at the Alfred Dunhill Links in 2010.
#1 Low shot checkpoint
Make sure there is a straightish line from your left shoulder, down through the clubshaft to the ball. That puts your hands comfortably ahead of the ball, a relationship you are looking to maintain through impact to keep loft off the clubface.
#2 Low shot checkpoint
Add some weight into your forward side, in my case my left. This doesn’t just help with a descending strike; weight in the left side restricts lateral movement to the right – away from the target. You don’t need lateral movement on what is a short, centred swing. Lateral movement can also hinder upper body rotation.
My rule of thumb on ball position is ‘Move it one ball back, and one ball in’
Moving the ball slightly back means impact takes place earlier in the swing, when the club is swinging down; that helps take loft off the face, and keep the ball low. Note how I’m letting ball position take care of the downward strike; too many amateurs try to chop down on the ball, an aggressive strike which adds backspin and inevitably sees the ball pop up in the air. The low shot needs a quiet strike.
A steep swing creates height; a shallow one produces a lower trajectory. Moving the ball closer to me makes me stand a little more upright. As with the draw, a more upright spine means a flatter shoulder turn and a shallower angle of attack – perfect for sending the ball out low.
When it comes to hitting the ball low, I have a 75% rule – I never hit the ball harder than 75%. As I’ve mentioned, the sharper you rip into the ball, the more backspin you are likely to create – and the more the ball tries to rise. Of course, hitting the ball softer means it won’t go as far, so the simple solution is to take at least one club more than you normally would for the distance. Naturally, its straighter face will also help you keep the flight down, and below the wind.
This was originally published in the Feb 2011 issue of Golf World. Click here to subscribe to Golf World Magazine.