Apr 21, 2023
POSTED BY: Nicholas Venditti

What Is a Knockdown Shot in Golf?

Many seasoned golfers will know to use a range of shots when the conditions around them create demand for it. For example, when the wind picks up, a golfer can use the knockdown shot to combat the effects of the wind. Using the knockdown method, most golfers keep the ball’s trajectory low, so the wind doesn’t sway the ball. 

Irons are typically the best club to use when playing a knockdown shot, but you can also play it with drivers and wedges, which makes the shot extremely adaptable. This versatility means that the knockdown method will always be an ally on the green, so it’s best to learn how to execute it sooner rather than later. 

When To Use a Knock Down Shot

The knockdown method is an excellent companion and strategy for many reasons, but its most common use is when weather conditions make it harder to control where your ball will land. 

  • Windy Conditions - It’s common for weather conditions to disrupt a golfer’s day. High winds have disrupted previous championships, so golfers often utilize the knockdown method when the wind is too high. When you hit the ball into the air, with a high trajectory, on a windy day, you’ll not guarantee where the ball will come down. Using a knockdown shot eliminates the uncertainty of playing with irons. 
  • Narrow target - Conditions also encompass when your line is obstructed, perhaps by low tree branches, or when you want to keep the ball on the line. Hitting shots with a more downward trajectory makes them easier to control. 
  • The location of the back hole - If pre-hazards aren't facing you, the knockdown method is an excellent solution to approaching a pin at the back of the green. In aiming to land the ball at the front or center of the green using the knockdown strategy, you allow the ball to carry to the back pin. This helps to increase your target surface areas and makes the overall shot easier to land effectively.

How Do You Hit a Knockdown Shot?

How you hit a knockdown shot depends on the conditions you find yourself in. Generally, if you adjust your stance appropriately, you’ll be on track for a successful hit. 

However, to begin with, a successful knockdown shot is all about controlling the speed. The knockdown method challenges most golfers because they often use a single-speed when making shots and always stay within that. With whatever club you choose, practice your knockdown shot with different speeds (50mph, 70mph, 100mph) at a driving range to learn how it feels. 

When you’re happy with your skill of controlling the speed, follow the guide below to give you the proper posture. 

  1. Adjust your stance - When attempting to execute the perfect knockdown shot, always play the ball further back in your stance. This means the ball should stay in the middle or right of center rather than to the left of your stance - which is the norm for most iron shots. 
  2. Adjust your weight - Most of your weight needs to be to the left when using the knockdown shot because it helps construct the low trajectory of the shot. 
  3. Adjust your hands - You must position your hands ahead of the ball. Also, ensure your grip is lower down on the shaft than usual to increase your ability to control the shot.
  4. Complete a full backswing - You want the knockdown shot to bring the ball lower to the ground, but you still want the ball to travel a reasonable distance. So remember that by executing your full backswing, you increase the length of your shot. 
  5. Use the right kind of club - When executing the knockdown shot, examining the weather conditions and picking the right club is essential. For every 10 mph of wind, we recommend adding a club. However, the club must still be low enough to keep the ball down to the ground. If using a driver, you must push your tee deeper into the ground than usual, as you don't want anything to elevate the shot.

While the knockdown shot isn’t always easy to execute and can take a lot of time and practice to get right, the lessons in resilience are just one of the many reasons that golf is good for you. Remember that golf is all about teaching resilience and taking the successes with the failures. If you don’t get the knockdown the first time, don’t be disappointed. It's all about the journey!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Knockdown vs. a Punch Shot?

A punch shot has the same goal as a knockdown - keeping the ball’s trajectory low. However, the two shots require different swings. While the knockdown needs a full swing, the punch shot wants an abbreviated swing to punch the ball out of a sticky position.

Is the Knockdown Shot Hard?

The knockdown tactic can take some practice, but practice can make perfect, as with every golfing shot. This shot is generally trickier because it requires you to control your speed and adjust your stance, weight, and hands in a way that may not feel natural - at first. 

Final Thoughts

On a windy day, or when the tree’s branches are getting in your way, the knockdown shot is a great new shot to learn and have in your back pocket. Remember that perfecting the knockdown shot can take time, so don’t be too disappointed if it doesn’t work right the first or second time. It really is all about the journey!

Golf is an excellent sport because, whatever the weather, you can get out on the green and adjust your shots to your conditions! So don’t hesitate to get back out on the green and get practicing. Before you do, don’t forget toshop at Stitch Golf for all your golfing gear and apparel needs!