How to Play the Knockdown Shot! – Part II

by Max on Monday, May 12th, 2008

There has been a lot of discussions on the internet about how to play the knockdown shot. I did go over it in brief detail couple months ago but here it is again.

A knockdown shot is nothing but a mini version of your full swing.

There are variety of knockdown shots too. Depending on what kind of lie you have and what kind of results you are trying to achieve, there’s about a hundred ways to play the shot.

But for 99% of golfers and 99% of situations, you play the knockdown shot for the following reasons:

1. You are between clubs. Let’s say you hit your 5-iron 185 yards and you hit your 6-iron 150 yards. You got a 160 yard shot, you can hit a knockdown shot here.

2. It’s windy. Whether that wind is against/with you or a cross-wind, by hitting a knockdown shot, you can keep the flight of the golf ball 20-40% lower than your normal shots and not get affected by the wind. That means you don’t have to worry about how the wind will affect the shot as much.

3. You need to hit it lower than usual to avoid high hanging trees and also put lots of backspin. If you hit a knockdown shot, usually you will get a lower ball flight and get a nice hop and stop action on the ball.

Again, here’s the simplest and the most effective way to hit the knockdown shot that I personally learned from Butch Harmon:

1. Put the ball near center or slightly forward of center of your stance.

2. Swing easy, anywhere between 1/2 to 3/4 swing.

3. On the downswing, feel like you are “trapping” the ball with your body. Now, this “feeling” might take a lot of practice to achieve.

4. Try to contact the ball first, not the turf. Better yet, don’t hit the turf at all. Hitting the turf only makes the ball lose backspin. If you look at Tiger in practice (not in competition), you will see him take zero turf on every one of his ‘good’ knockdowns. If you are awed by tour pros hitting really low sand wedges and they ‘hop and drop’, this is how they do it.

This may be the most important in knockdowns since the less you hit the ground (or take a divot), the more ‘hop and drop’ backspin you will get PLUS your ball will fly a lot lower since you are not hitting down on the ball. The only way to achieve this is to really hit the ball from 0 degree angle, meaning you don’t want to hit down or up on the ball.

Now this method is great since you will be able to use your knockdowns “everywhere” once you get good.

I tend to favor it even if it’s not windy and I don’t need to hit it under a tree since you don’t have to do a full swing and stay in control of your ball flight.

Look at Tiger and he’s doing that.

Next time, I will take a video to show you exactly what I mean. These days, I don’t have much time for golf practice. I hope that changes soon and maybe I will have to try out for PGA again soon.


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