Pros advice

How To… Play Tiger’s Knockdown Shot?

By Paul Charman, GP Teaching Professional


Dear PC,

During the summer months I consistently match and sometimes better my 15 handicap. In the winter I struggle to break 90 on a good day. I’ve got a bad attitude about playing in dodgy weather and I particularly hate windy conditions. Can you help?

Creighton, Hereford


It doesn’t do a player any good to make good progress with their game during the better weather and then spend the next five months feeling like they’re going backwards. Creighton, it sounds like a lot of your problems are nothing to do with your playing abilities – more like you’ve given up on yourself as soon as you see a dark cloud pass by your window.

What you need is something in your armoury you feel you can rely on, even in the toughest circumstances. You can call it a punch or a squeeze, but to many, including some bloke called Tiger Woods, it’s a knockdown shot. When you’re staring into a wind that’s threatening to tear the top of your head off, this is the baby that’ll get you on the dancefloor. The aim is to send the ball on a lower trajectory under the wind, with less spin than you would normally generate. It won’t win a beauty contest, but if it’s good enough for a links master like Tom Watson, it should do you just fine.

1. Check the yardage and choose one, possibly two, clubs more than you would normally need. Take a slightly wider stance than usual, making sure you place more weight on your forward foot, approximately 60 per cent, with 40 per cent on your back foot. The ball should be set further back in your stance – this will enable you to keep on top of the ball and produce a lower ball flight.

2. Move your hands down the grip an inch or two to gain more control. Make a three-quarter backswing. Remember to keep your wrists firm throughout the swing – this is one of the best ways to restrict the amount of spin you put on the ball. Through impact, try and keep your hands ahead of the ball. You want to get the feeling you’re keeping your body down and forward with your weight moving towards the target.

3. Finish the swing with a threequarter length followthrough. Whatever you do, don’t try and hit the ball too hard. A common mistake is that most golfers try to force the ball through the wind. Remember the harder you hit it, the more spin you generate and the more likely it is that the ball will balloon and fall short of your target.

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