HOW DO YOU HIT A LOW TRAJECTORY KNOCKDOWN SHOT?
You hit a low trajectory shot or knockdown shot by:
- Choosing more club (usually about one club for every 10 mph of wind)
- Placing the ball in the middle to just slightly back in your stance (delofting the club)
- Putting more weight on your target side leg
- Choking down on the club a bit
- Using a normal backswing but swinging easy
- Dragging the club through impact zone by keeping your hands low
The low trajectory knockdown shot is a must have shot when playing in windy conditions, but it can also be needed when you find yourself in between clubs or having to hit the ball low (though it is different than a punch shot). A knockdown shot is typically a slower, more controlled version of your normal full swing, shaped to travel lower.
The Low Trajectory Knockdown Shot
The low trajectory knockdown shot is invaluable when playing in windy conditions, where your golf ball would be blown off track with your normal height full swing. But the knockdown shot can also be used when you find yourself in between club yardages or have to come in low due to course topography. Joe Beck, Lifetime PGA Member gives a great lesson in how to execute this valuable shot.
Your address position will have the ball positioned in the middle of your stance to slightly back, which will provide some natural delofting of your club. You should place a little extra weight on your target side leg. You want to keep your head and sternum forward over the ball to just slightly forward. This will also help the ball come out low.
You will still use your normal backswing, but if you are hitting into the wind and are using more club, you want to swing easier - approximately 80% of your normal club head speed. A common error is to swing harder when hitting into the wind, which often has the unintended result of higher ball flight.
In your downswing you will drag the club through the impact zone, keeping your hands low into the follow through.
Swing Easy When It's Breezy
"Swing easy when it's breezy" is great advice given by Maria Palozola - My Golf Instructor Top 50 LPGA Teacher. A knockdown shot is incredibly useful when the wind is blowing and is executed by swinging easier, which is counter-intuitive to many golfers. Maria explains that you also select a lower lofted club, but you'll still use a full swing. She contrasts the knockdowns shot with the punch shot which is a more aggressive but more abbreviated swing. A punch shot is normally used when you are trying to hit the ball low out of trouble and back into play. With a knockdown shot you want the ball to travel to your target, but just lower.
Slow Down Your Rotation
Maria shares excellent advice on learning to slow down your swing speed by controlling your rotation. Many golfers swing at one speed only and speeding up or slowing down is awkward and will throw their swing off. An excellent way of learning to control your rate of rotation (speed) is go to the driving range and pick up a 7-iron. If you normally hit your 7-iron 170 yards at 100% swing speed - start by swinging at half speed and try to knock the ball down to 85 yards. Then speed it up a bit and swing at 60%, then 70%, then 80%. Then go back down in speed. Practice changing your swing speed at the practice range so you will have it when you need it on the course and in the wind.
Low with Some Go
So, the wind is blowing like crazy, or you've got that annoying tree branch hanging down, and you have to hit it low with some go. Class A PGA Member Scott Bunker is Director of Golf at Red Mountain Ranch Country Club shares a great lesson on how to play the low trajectory knockdown shot. To do so, move the ball back in your stance which helps de-loft the club by moving the handle slightly forward at impact. Make an abbreviated swing keeping your weight mainly on your target side leg. And think low through the impact zone, keeping your hands low a bit longer. Of course, it can also be beneficial to club up to a club with less loft and choke down on the grip an inch or two. But, again, the different clubs will help compensate for less back swing and the choked-down grip.
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Scott Bunker, Director of GolfClass A PGA Member Scott Bunker is Director of Golf at Red Mountain Ranch Country Club. Scott was again recognized by Golf Digest as a Top 10 Instructor in Arizona. He has been on their list every year since 2000. Scott was named Teacher of the Year by the Southwest PGA in 2000. He was previously Director of Instruction with the John Jacob's Golf Schools, starting his golf teaching career there in 1979.
Maria Palozola - Top 50 LPGA Teacher (2008-Present)
- LPGA Midwest Teacher of the Year (2013,2011 & 2008)
- Golf Digest "Top 5 Teachers in State" (Missouri) 2013-Present
- Golf Digest "Top 10 Teachers in State" (Illinois)
- Golf Magazine "Top Teachers in Midwest" 2005-2008
- TPI Certified Golf Fitness Instructor, Certified GolfPsych Instructor, Certified Ad-vantage Golf Fitness Instructor, Certified Club Fitter
- Illinois Open Champion (2002)
- LPGA Championship Qualifier (2000)
- Participated in multiple LPGA Tour events (1999-2002)
- LPGA Midwest Section Champion (1999)
- Missouri State Amateur Champion (1993)
- All-Sunbelt Conference Player at the University of South Alabama (1993)
- Missouri State High School Champion (1987)