Knockdown Shot

Punch shot
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A "knockdown shot" is a type of golf shot in which the golfer induces a lower trajectory for the flight of the golf ball. The ball, in other words, doesn't get as high in the air with a knockdown shot as it does with the golfer's typical swing. "Knockdown shot" is essentially another term for "punch shot" - recreational golfers can think of the terms as interchangeable.

Knockdown shots are typically played with the ball farther back in the golfer's stance, and with a shorter backswing and shorter follow through; and with less loft. There are different ways of accomplishing the same thing, however, as there are with most golf shots. Two-time major championship winner Fuzzy Zoeller gave us this advice on hitting a knockdown shot:

"If you read and believe all the golf magazines on how to hit a knockdown shot, you would have to contort yourself in so many ways and think of so many things, it'd be hard to draw the club back. Also, people tend to swing quicker and harder when trying to follow those tips for a knockdown shot, which actually causes the ball to balloon more.

"The key is to keep this crazy game as simple as possible. If you are a 6-iron away with your normal swing but you want to keep the ball low, take a 5- or even a 4-iron and grip down on the club a bit. Then, swing smoother than normal. This approach will put less spin on the ball, which will keep the flight of the ball lower, resulting in a knockdown shot."

The most common reasons for playing a knockdown shot are to keep the ball lower when hitting into a strong wind (or crosswind) or to keep the ball lower in order to fly it under some obstacle such as tree branches.

See also:​ How to Hit a Punch Shot, or return to Golf Glossary index!

Also Known As: Punch shot


  • "You better hit a knockdown to keep it out of the wind."
  • "I have tree trouble so I'm going to hit a knockdown shot to get under those branches."