One of the most critical times during a round of golf can occur when a player hits her ball into the woods. Once the ball is found, the golfer needs to overcome the urge to try to strike a "miracle shot" and simply punch the ball back onto the fairway to minimize the damage to her score.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Choose a club with a much lower loft than a pitching wedge. The idea is to keep the ball as low as possible to avoid having it hit an overhanging branch. Utilize a four or five iron, depending on which club you feel more comfortable hitting.
Choke up on the club a couple of inches. Once again, hitting the ball a long distance is not the idea. You are simply trying to play it to a spot on the fairway that gives you an excellent look at the green for the next shot. Choking up on the golf club gives you better control of it.
Be sure to center the ball in your stance. As you stand over the ball, have it between both feet. Look down and visualize a line going straight down through your breastbone to the ground. That is where the ball should be before you hit it. Keeping the ball centered will insure that it comes out low when you strike it.
Employ a shorter backswing than normal. As you bring the club back, take it to a point where your left arm is in a position that is parallel to the ground. Cock the wrists and bring the head of the club through the ball as you swing. Try to keep your hands forward so that they are in front of the golf ball but make absolutely certain that the face of the club stays square to the ball as it strikes it.
Keep your follow through short. Bring the club up only as high as your hips after you hit the ball. You will find that your swing will be quicker with a shorter backswing and by keeping the follow through short you won't cause the ball to fly high in the air, which is ideal for a punch shot.
Tips & Warnings
Practice the punch shot on the range to get a feel for how hard to hit the ball to get it out of trouble or better yet find a field where you can actually hit balls from the fringe of the woods.