What Is A Knockdown Shot In Golf: Simple Tips

A knockdown shot is one where you have lowered the trajectory of your golf ball to lessen the effects of the wind or to avoid an obstacle such as tree branches.

Some golfers tend to use the terms knockdown and punch interchangeably while other players make more of a distinction. For example, Paul Azinger considers a knockdown shot purely as a shot that flies lower since he expects it to go the same distance as his normal shot.

What Is A Knockdown Shot In Golf

The knockdown is not a punch shot. A knockdown goes the same distance as a regular shot, only lower and with more spin. But a punch goes shorter than normal and lands more softly. My backswing for the knockdown is fairly full, like my normal backswing. For the punch shot, my backswing is shorter because I’m hitting the ball shorter. The biggest difference between the two shots is the follow-through. For the punch, my follow-through is higher, more like a standard swing. For the knockdown, I finish low to hit the ball low.

Paul Azinger – Golf Digest (August 1991)

How Do You Hit A Knockdown Shot?

When I’m looking to keep the ball down on a windy day I concentrate on two things:

  • Take extra club.
  • Swing easy.

Using a lower lofted club will naturally mean the ball will fly a little lower. By making a more relaxed swing you should also be imparting less backspin on the ball which should also lower its trajectory.

If I feel like I need to hit a really low shot then I might play the ball slightly farther back in my stance and try to keep my weight more on my left side through the swing (I’m right-handed).

By Paul Azinger’s definition, I suppose I’m not really hitting a knockdown shot since the ball wouldn’t travel quite as far using my method.

Other Ways To Play A Knockdown Shot

Different teachers and players all have their own ideas on how best to produce a knockdown shot.

Golf Magazine top 100 teacher Don Sargent likes to use the “rule of one’s”:

  • Move the ball 1 inch back from the center of your stance
  • Grip down 1 inch on the club
  • Take 1 extra club
  • Keep your nose 1 inch ahead of the ball on your backswing

Another Golf Magazine top 100 teacher V.J. Trolio suggests the following method:

  • Choke down on the club a couple of inches 
  • Move the ball back in your stance
  • Swing easy

Greg Norman, the shark himself, sees it slightly differently on his website shark.com.

He describes a knockdown punch which he considers as more of a long, hard chip shot. This is how he describes executing the shot which he recommends as being most useful in heavy winds:

  • Grip down on the shaft of your club
  • Play the ball back toward the centre of your stance
  • Hands should be well forward of the ball
  • Weight should be two thirds on the left side (for right-handers)
  • Play with a relatively fast swing
  • Keep your wrists passive

Paige Spiranac shows you her particular take on the knockdown shot and some dubious knock-knock jokes on her YouTube channel.

Paige Spiranac on Knockdown Shots

Another famous YouTuber, Mark Crossfield explains one of the biggest mistakes he sees amateurs making when trying the knockdown shot.

Mark Crossfield on Knockdown Shot Mistake

As he points out people don’t realize that if you move the ball back in your stance then that is likely to affect the path of your swing which could lead to you shaping the shot so you will either need to close the face a little or adjust your stance to the left.

What Is A Knockdown Shot In Golf: Conclusion

So the next time you are down at the range you have a number of different methods to try out in order to produce a knockdown shot. For beginners, you might be better off sticking with just taking more club and swinging easily rather than lots of complicated setup changes or swing thoughts.

If like me, you play somewhere that’s quite windy then you are going to get great mileage out of the knockdown shot whichever way you decide to do it.

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