How to play the knockdown shot

how to play the knockdown shot

In this exclusive video tip, Golf Monthly Top 25 Coach Rick Shiels explains how to play the knockdown shot to hit lower, punched iron shots

How to play the knockdown shot

There are two things that will determine the height of your golf shots: the loft on the club at impact and the speed at which you are swinging. It makes sense that when learning how to play the knockdown shot, these are the two factors to adjust. Obviously, you need to de-loft the club at address and you do that simply by moving the ball back in your stance. With the ball back, your hands will automatically be ahead of the ball and you’ll be strengthening the loft of the club by around 10˚.

Golf swing tips videos

Your swing speed determines how much backspin you create – more backspin equals a higher flight – so you need to swing a little slower. You can do that by pure feel but I prefer to shorten the swing. A three quarter back and through swing will take important backspin off the shot. Just note that as you are looking to take speed out of the swing, you may need to take an extra club to hit your usual distance. Experiment with this on the range – it’s great fun to do and really helpful once you get to the course.

Punch shot tips - control the flight

1 Address keys

Move the ball back in your stance so that your hands are a couple of inches ahead. This will help you create the low initial trajectory you are looking for.

Watch Andy Sullivan's punch shot masterclass

2 Backswing check

Removing speed from your swing is key to keeping the flight down. Just hit a few half shots with a 7-iron on the range and you’ll see. For a punch, swing back to three quarters your usual length.

3 Flight and balance

Again, make a three quarter length follow through feeling like you are ‘punching’ the ball through the wind. You should be able to hold this finish, maintaining your balance comfortably throughout.



Neil Tappin
Neil Tappin

In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."

Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSi2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X