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June 11 2013

1:51 PM

Tips from Travis: Knockdown shot

Harris English's ability to hit a knockdown shot helped him to a victory. (Lyons/Getty Images)

By Travis Fulton, Director of Instruction, PGA TOUR Academy

I have a feeling this is going to be the first of many PGA TOUR wins for Harris English. The Georgia graduate had already posted three top-10s in 2013, including a tie for sixth at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans a little over a month ago.

As Harris reflects back on a great week in Memphis, and the invitation to the 2014 Masters that comes with his first win, no shot will stand out more than the knockdown he hit on the 71st hole, setting up a huge 17-foot birdie putt that put him on top to stay. This knockdown shot is a go-to shot for many TOUR players, when they really need to control their ball flight and keep the spin down.

So many times during lessons, I will encourage students to learn the knockdown shot. One of the reasons why is that so many amateurs scoop the trail wrist at impact, which causes the clubshaft to lean away from the target. This adds loft to the clubface, increasing the initial launch angle and robbing the players the distance they should be getting. What’s interesting is that when amateurs learn how to hit a knockdown, they often feel as if their arm swing gets shorter; yet, they hit it farther because of the improvement in the launch conditions at impact.

Here are a few tips to help you hit the knockdown, and improve your impact position in the process.

1. Shorten your arm swing: When hitting a knockdown shot, swing your hands to about shoulder-height on the backswing and follow-through. This abbreviated motion will not only make your backswing more compact, but also encourage a more delofted clubface through impact as a result of the lower finish.

2. Focus on two rights: On the downswing, feel as if your right elbow moves in toward your right hip. Don’t allow the right elbow to move away from your body, but rather keep it in front of your hip at the delivery position. As this happens, it’s a must that your right wrist stays bent. Maintaining this right wrist angle position through impact keeps the shaft leaning forward, which allows the clubhead to work down into the ground. Thus, no scooping!

3. Turn the knuckles down: If the right wrist remains bent through impact, as it should, then you must use your left hand to square the clubface. To do this, rotate your left forearm and hand down so that the back of your hand faces the target at impact. The hand should then continue to swivel down so that the knuckles face the ground shortly after impact. Turn the knuckles down and you should hit the ball on a much better trajectory.

Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.

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