What is a Knockdown Shot in Golf? (4 Step Guide)

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Golfers at all levels need to be capable of a range of shots that depend on their position on the course, as well as the weather conditions they’re facing. So, where does the knockdown shot come in?

Well, most golfers utilize a knock-down shot when the wind gets up, as it’s a great way to keep their ball’s trajectory down so the wind doesn’t heavily influence their shot.

While knock-down shots are typically played with irons, it’s also possible to play knock-downs with a driver and even a wedge; such is the adaptability of this type of golf shot.

This article introduces you to everything you need to know about knock-down shots in golf, and we begin by explaining precisely what a knock-down is, before moving on to exploring how you successfully play a knock-down shot out on the course.


The Knockdown Shot in Golf Explained

The knock-down is a golf shot that flies with a low, penetrating trajectory and is used for limiting the effects of a cross or headwind. Typically played with a long iron, utility, or fairway wood, a well-executed knock-down shot will enable you to hit the ball the required distance.

The shot takes the elements or any low-hanging hazards out of play.

Although sometimes referred to as a punch shot, a knock-down shot is better suited to long distances, while a punch shot tends to be reserved for in and around the green.


How Do You Hit a Knock-Down Shot? (in 4 Steps!)

To execute the perfect knock-down shot, you need to adjust your stance, shift your weight and position your hands ahead of the ball. You will need to practice the knock-down shot before you’re able to hit it consistently.

You can do so by following the 4 helpful tips listed below:

  1. Adjust your stance: For the perfect knock-down shot, you should play the ball farther back in your stance. The ball should be in the middle or slightly right of center, as opposed to on the left of your stance, as is customary for the majority of iron shots.
  2. Shift your weight: You will need to shift the majority of your weight to the left when hitting a knock-down shot (around 60-70%, if you can quantify it!), as this encourages a downward blow and will keep the shot’s trajectory low.
  3. Position your hands: When setting up for a knock-down shot, position your hands well ahead of the ball. You should also grip down the shaft slightly to increase your control of the shot.
  4. Execute a full backswing: A knock-down shot is supposed to go lower, not shorter. As such, remember to execute a full backswing. You can reduce your follow-through, however.
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Attempting a knock-down shot will feel unnatural at first, particularly for beginners.

But the trick is to practice this type of shot out on the range, and you will be amazed at how effective it is when the conditions merit a low trajectory shot.


Knock Down Shot Golf Swing Explained

The knock-down is an effective shot for golfers to employ when it’s particularly windy out on the course, as its low, penetrating trajectory will ensure your ball doesn’t lose distance by being caught up in the breeze.

The swing you execute for a knock-down shouldn’t differ too dramatically from your normal swing, and your main adjustments should be in your stance, weight, and hand position.

Knock-down shots come in useful for golfers in the following circumstances:

  • In the wind: As mentioned, golfers utilize knock-down shots on windy days. If you fire a low iron up into the air with a high trajectory, there’s no knowing where your ball will come down! Opting for a knock-down shot takes some of the uncertainty out of iron play on a windy day.
  • Narrow target: Whether your line is obstructed or you’re hoping to dial into a tricky pin position, striking a knock-down shot will help you keep your ball on line. When you hit shots with a lower trajectory, they’re much easier to control.
  • Back hole location: If you’re approaching a pin at the back of a green, a knock-down shot is an excellent option if you’re not faced with pre-green hazards.
    You can aim to land your ball front or center of the green with a knock-down, allowing the ball to carry to the back pin, which increases your target surface area and makes the shot slightly easier to land.

What is a Knock Down Wedge?

The knock down wedge is essentially a lower body, checking shot that allows you to attack pins. It’s a great shot to play when you have plenty of green to work with, so pins to the back of the center are ideal when approaching from the front.

Typically, players execute a knock-down wedge with a pitching or sand wedge.

It’s necessary to separate your upper and lower body movements to get it right, and it is generally considered a lower-body shot, as opposed to one made with your hands.

Jordan Spieth is one of several pros who has mastered the art of the knock-down wedge, and it’s common to see his pitches fire into the pins like darts, aiding his control over the elements and allowing him to be aggressive even when the conditions are unfavorable.


How Do You Hit a Knock Down Driver?

Hitting a knock-down driver is similar to hitting any type of knock-down shot, and you need to adjust your stance, weight, and grip when you’re lining up for your tee shot. The most significant adjustment you need to make when you’re playing a knock-down driver is the height of your tee.

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You should push your tee deeper into the ground than you ordinarily would, as a higher tee result in more elevation, which is something you’re hoping to avoid with a knock-down shot.

You also need to be mindful that a knock-down drive requires a steady, easy swing.

If you’re not deliberate with your swing action, you can easily fall into the trap of shortening your backswing and rushing your follow-through, which will have disastrous consequences!

You will need to practice hitting a knock-down drive out on the range before taking your new shot to the course, as it’s undoubtedly more difficult to play a knock-down with a driver as opposed to an iron.


How Do You Hit a Knock Down Shot into the Wind?

Playing a knock-down shot into the wind requires you to adjust your stance accordingly so the ball doesn’t rise with a high trajectory and catch the breeze. You also want to take an additional club, depending on how strong the wind is and whether it is blowing directly towards you.

After all, knock-down shots are still affected by the wind slightly, just less so than conventional high trajectory shots that you haven’t adjusted to account for the weather conditions.

Also, when you’re playing into the wind, be careful not to reduce your backswing too much.

Many golfers adjust their swing when playing punch shots, but doing so when you’re playing a knock-down into the wind will almost certainly mean that your shot won’t travel the required distance.


Is the Knockdown Shot Hard?

If you’re new to the game of golf, you are likely to find it difficult to play a knock-down shot. The changes to the way you address the ball can feel unnatural, and it certainly takes a while to get used to executing a low trajectory shot.

But the more time you spend out on the range practicing knock-down shots with various clubs, the more proficient you will become out on the course.

Eventually, knock-down shots will become second nature, and you will be able to execute them without much thought when the conditions necessitate keeping the ball down.


Practice the Knock Down for Better Success

The knock-down is an excellent shot to add to your golfing repertoire.

Just like stingers and punch shots, knock-downs are characterized by their low, penetrating trajectory, and they’re unlikely to get caught up in the wind.

Knock-downs are also a great option if your line is obstructed by trees or low-hanging branches, as you can successfully play under the hazard without compromising on distance.

The bottom line is that knock-down shots will undoubtedly help you navigate your way around the course and will help keep your score down when the wind gets up.

While you need to take the time to practice knock-down shots out on the range, you will be ready to deploy them out on the course in no time at all.