Shot Shaping 101: How To Hit a Knockdown

Shot Shaping 101: How To Hit a Knockdown

By: Nick Bockenfeld, PGA
⌚7 Minute Read


If you have been around golf long enough and played with enough good players, you will hear the term knock down once or twice. You may ask someone what they just hit, and they might reply, a little knock down 7 iron, as a way of telling you well they hit 7, but it wasn’t a full 7. That is the usual context about a knockdown, but what is it, and how do you hit it? 


What is a Knockdown?

A knockdown will take about 5 to 10 yards off of a full shot to be a little more accurate with your distances. But it has other benefits that are more important to me. A knockdown is a more controlled swing that puts less spin on the ball and flights the ball lower. This is all very useful in the wind. When it is windy out, you need to hit a lot of knockdown shots to keep the ball low and out of that nasty wind.  


How Do You Hit a Knockdown?

Now that you know what a knockdown is let's talk about how you hit one. The first thing you should do is club up. The most effective knockdowns are when you club up a couple of clubs, and it helps you keep it very low. If you are into the wind, there isn’t much need to worry about spin, as the wind will help the ball stop on the green much quicker. 



The stance is one of the most essential things when hitting a knockdown. You want to take a slightly more narrow stance, open to your target line and with the ball back in your stance. The narrow stance helps keep your swing a little more limited and less powerful. The ball is in the back of your stance so that you can flight the ball lower. And finally, you need to open your stance because the ball is in the back of the stance, which will cause you to push it slightly to the right. So you aim left to counter that. As a bonus, if I want to get something piercing through the air, I will also have my weight towards the front of my stance to create a little more downward strike. Play with this a little and find out what works best for you. 


The Swing

It is not a full swing when you take a swing to hit a knockdown. You are taking a 75% swing or less depending on how hard the wind blows. The harder the wind blows into you, the easier you need to swing. The harder you swing, the higher the ball is going to go. So the max you take this swing back is 75%. 



This is simple enough, the lower you want the ball to come out and stay, the more forward shaft lean you need. This allows you to trap the ball and hit a nice low shot. 


The Follow-Through

You must finish low when you want the ball to come out low. It's that simple; this is a sawed-off finish, so the ball comes out much lower. You see the pros finish with a sawed-off finish all the time, this is usually why.


When Should You Use the Knockdown?

As I said, a knockdown is best used on a really windy day, but it can also come in handy just to flight the ball lower. Whether you need the ball to come out really low so you can get out of the trees or whatever it is. It could also just be a great way to get to a shot that goes a very specific distance. You may even want to hit it if the pin is on the back of the green, and you know going over the back of the green is death. Instead of hitting your full 8 iron, hit a little knockdown 8 iron. It's a great way to just hit a more controlled shot. 


Lie Angle

Lie angle is the angle at which the shaft goes up from the club. A more upright lie angle can help you hit the ball left, while a flat angle can help you hit the ball right. You can play with the lie angle to get the perfect launch for you. It will also help you come into impact with a flat club. So play with it and find what is best for you!


Groove It

Now that you know how to hit a knockdown and some of its use cases let's talk about how you can hit it every time. You need to practice any shot and become confident before you ever take it out to the golf course, and definitely before you can debut it in tournament play. A knockdown is not a hard shot to hit, and it's an essential part of your arsenal on the course, so get it locked down. The best way to lock down a specific swing is to use the CTRL Swing Master. The Swing Master is the best way to practice and the best way to groove a swing. Just create a knockdown model with it, and go ahead and build your baseline with 10 good swings, then take it into the training mode and hit balls and get feedback on your tempo, face, and path so that you can hit your best knockdown every single time. 



The knockdown is an essential part of your arsenal, now you know how to hit it, go groove it, and make sure that it is ready for the next time you need it on the course.

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