K is for a Knockdown shot. Although the wind rarely howls in Thailand, some of the courses do have prevalent and somewhat strong trade winds, especially those golf courses located in a valley or near the sea. Pattana Golf in Pattaya and Mission Hills Phuket are two such courses that come to mind. You will have a big advantage if you know how to hit a knockdown shot when playing at these Thailand golf courses.
Here are the six steps I suggest when trying to hit a low shot. First, grip down (choke up) on the club as the additional control on the club will promote a lower ball flight. Second, play the ball back in your stance; just a little back of center is all it takes, and put about 60 percent of the left side. This will inhibit falling back on the shot and it will help decrease the trajectory of the shot.
Third, with the modified setup make around a three quarter swing so that at the top of your back swing your left arm is no more than parallel to the ground. On the downswing through impact try to feel as though the left hand is firm without releasing the club head. For those who tend to slice the ball normally, including myself, this means just using your normal swing and follow through.
When I really need to hit it low, say when I am stuck off the fairway and behind some tree with low hanging limbs, I try to feel my hands don’t get much above my hip level on my follow through. Of course they do, but the thought keeps my hands lower which assists in lowering ball flight. This forth point is best described as an abbreviated follow through.
The fifth and probably hardest point to take note of when trying to hit a knockdown or any low flying shot is to swing slower. When it’s windy golfing in Thailand, I see many players actually swing faster, maybe because they are unaccustomed to windy conditions in Thailand or who knows some other factor like rushing to get back to their hotels, girlfriends, bars, temples, or who knows what, may be in play? In any case, this does make the ball fly low, but with loads of side spin making the shot to be off line instead of dead straight.
Lastly, take 1 or 2 extra clubs, depending on how hard the wind is blowing and the extra wind resistance and lower ball flight will result in shorter than normal distance.. There are very little “3 club winds” in Thailand golf, except for perhaps Samui Santiburi golf course built on the mountain in Koh Samui. In any case, a “3 club wind” is one that requires you to hit three extra clubs (i.e. if you normally hit 7 iron from 150 yards, a 3 club wind would mean you’re hitting a 4 iron).
In spite of all the different points to remember, the knockdown shot is actually a very easy shot to hit, especially for those who have a tendency to slice. I use it golfing in Thailand not just when the wind is blowing, but also when I’m between clubs and need to take a little off the yardage and also in the more often than not circumstance when I drive into trouble and am trying to hit out of the rough and under some low hanging tree branches. Keep this shot in your repertoire and you will shoot better scores knowing than you can hit a knockdown.