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Beat the wind with the “no hands knockdown”



Until the arrival of Doppler Radar launch monitors such as Flightscope, there was never really an effective way to check out the ball striking claims tips we got from other players.

Golf is still the rare sport where the best players in the world help each other with techniques they are trying to learn. Recently, I watched Rod Pampling try to teach Ryan Palmer how to hit a driver off the deck on No. 18 at The Memorial. After a few swings, Palmer was hitting low screamers out into the tight, sloping fairway.

During my playing career, I got to play a round with 1976 U.S. Open champion Jerry Pate. The weather that day was not ideal. The wind was blowing 30 mph and it was cold — not the best conditions for flying a golf ball. We were good and cold by the time we got to hole No. 15, which was not normally a tough par-3. But on this day, what was nothing more than a standard 8 iron on a normal day required something more low and boring. Both of us grabbed 5 irons and had at it.

Jerry hit a low bullet to the middle of the green. The wind only slowed the ball down enough for it to land on the green; it didn’t knock it down in a dangerous way.

My swing at the nickel took off hot and low. Then it began to stall and lost momentum to fight onward. Just about the time I expected it to land safely, it splashed down a woeful 10 yards short of dry land.

It was here that JP offered me this information. He told me that Lee Trevino once told him that if you wanted to keep the ball from ballooning in the wind, you need to keep your hands out of it on the backswing.

[quote_box_center]”Keep them really still and do not hinge the club a lot,” he said. [/quote_box_center]

Remember, this was a time when pro golfers still played golf balls that spun way too much, so there was a often a need to be able to keep the spin off the shot.

Once I got the time, I practiced the shot and sure enough the ball stayed down without any urge to rise. It is especially effective when you’re in the trees and need to keep the ball under the limbs for a long distance before the ball enters clear airspace. Everyone can relate to that time you moved the ball back in your stance, leaned the handle way forward and tried to knock it down low only to see the ball shoot straight up and into the overhanging limbs. This little tip kept the ball from doing that.

Recently, I was using Flightscope and decided to put the technique to the test and see what the numbers had to tell me about the ball and club interaction

I hit three different shots with a 7 iron.

  1. Standard full swing (ball position under the logo on the left of my shirt)
  2. Normal knockdown (ball position under my right eye)
  3. “No hands knockdown” (ball position under my right eye)

Here is what the data screen looked like (click to enlarge):

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 10.28.04 AM

Here are the launch screens for each shot: Shot 1 on the left, Shot 2 in the middle and Shot 3 on the right. You can see the ball flight got lower with each shot.

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 10.27.47 AM

A bit of transparency may offer some clarity about the numbers. The grass on the range where I work is not tightly mown. It is a nice customer length where the ball sits up, which differs from the tight conditions that you see on Tour where you can really have control over the golf ball. As I look at the data, there are some values that I know are potentially exaggerated by the conditions. Nevertheless, what can we deduce other than trajectory for each shot I hit? What changed from shot to shot, especially from Shot 2 to Shot 3 that would have kept the ball lower?

It’s obvious that the distance dropped significantly from Shot 1-3 with the difference being a whole 20 yards of carry. The hinging of the wrists is a definite power source, so I am not shocked by the distance gap. Also, the height dropped 30 feet, which was obvious to the naked eye. Shot 3 was quite lower than Shot 1, even on grass that was like using a tee.

For the four remaining categories, I want to really focus in on dynamic loft, spin, spin loft and angle of attack (AoA). We have confirmed what Lee told Jerry and what Jerry told me is true. Take the hand action out in the backswing and you will hit it lower. But what do these three numbers confirm about that?

First, when you take out hand action, you take out some of the opening and closing action of the clubface. When the hands “normally” set, the clubface will continue to open. Yes, you can impose your own will on it and do it wrong, but if done “naturally” the face will continue to open thereby adding loft. So the less your hands set, the more the clubface stays shut and the lower the ball launches. That is represented in the dynamic loft number at impact.

There is a downward trend in dynamic loft from the full swing value of 36.5 degrees.

  1. The “normal knockdown” has a dynamic loft of 31.8 degrees.
  2. The “no hands knockdown” has a dynamic loft of 24.5 degrees.

You can also see the same thing in the vertical launch values with a big jump between Shot 2 and Shot 3. So quieting my hands brought the dynamic loft down by more than 7 degrees at impact. That is a lot and will keep the ball down!

Notice the spin values increasing, however, and remember what I said about the turf conditions. I give the credit for the increased spin to lies that were a little cleaner, because all three shots were hit right on the middle of the face.

The AoA of the shots also remained very static — there were only a minor few changes in the value between the three shots. One thing I see when I first try to teach a low shot to a player is they think they need to “tomahawk” down on the ball as hard as they can and bury the club halfway up to the neck into the ground to keep the ball down. Once I get them to understand that keeping the shot down is about dynamic loft and how the hands control the club, they stop chopping at it to keep it down and begin to lean the shaft to have a shallower AoA so the ball stays nice and low.

My last point is about spin loft, which is the difference between AoA and the dynamic loft at impact. These values follow the trend of everything else we have looked at. From the full swing shot to the last shot, the numbers decreased. In turn, that produced a lower ball flight that penetrated the wind more and stayed low.

It is very cool to be able to test out shots like this on Flightscope, especially when it’s something another Tour player has shared to help you learn a new shot. After all, the game is about playing shots and the more shots you have the more fun you can have playing the game.

So what did we learn here?

  1. Keeping the hands quiet will help to keep the ball down.
  2. Less hand action going back with the ball positioned back-of-center in your stance gives you less loft at impact and lowers dynamic loft, spin loft and vertical launch.
  3. Keeping shots down for a long time over a long distance is a vertical launch value promoted by firm hands in the backswing.
  4. All of this brings down your overall height and produces a low, penetrating shot.
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If you are an avid Golf Channel viewer you are familiar with Rob Strano the Director of Instruction for the Strano Golf Academy at Kelly Plantation Golf Club in Destin, FL. He has appeared in popular segments on Morning Drive and School of Golf and is known in studio as the “Pop Culture” coach for his fun and entertaining Golf Channel segments using things like movie scenes*, song lyrics* and familiar catch phrases to teach players. His Golf Channel Academy series "Where in the World is Rob?" showed him giving great tips from such historic landmarks as the Eiffel Tower, on a Gondola in Venice, Tuscany Winery, the Roman Colissum and several other European locations. Rob played professionally for 15 years, competing on the PGA, Nike/ and NGA/Hooters Tours. Shortly after embarking on a teaching career, he became a Lead Instructor with the golf schools at Pine Needles Resort in Pinehurst, NC, opening the Strano Golf Academy in 2003. A native of St. Louis, MO, Rob is a four time honorable mention U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Youth Golf Instructor and has enjoyed great success with junior golfers, as more than 40 of his students have gone on to compete on the collegiate level at such established programs as Florida State, Florida and Southern Mississippi. During the 2017 season Coach Strano had a player win the DII National Championship and the prestigious Nicklaus Award. He has also taught a Super Bowl and Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, a two-time NCAA men’s basketball national championship coach, and several PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players. His PGA Tour players have led such statistical categories as Driving Accuracy, Total Driving and 3-Putt Avoidance, just to name a few. In 2003 Rob developed a nationwide outreach program for Deaf children teaching them how to play golf in sign language. As the Director of the United States Deaf Golf Camps, Rob travels the country conducting instruction clinics for the Deaf at various PGA and LPGA Tour events. Rob is also a Level 2 certified AimPoint Express Level 2 green reading instructor and a member of the FlightScope Advisory Board, and is the developer of the Fuzion Dyn-A-line putting training aid. * Golf Channel segments have included: Caddyshack Top Gun Final Countdown Gangnam Style The Carlton Playing Quarters Pump You Up



  1. Dpavs

    Jan 16, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    I’m not sure of the benefit of all this… sure the trajectory is lower but if you look the accuracy is progressively worse and the spin progressively higher.

    • SRSLY

      Jan 16, 2015 at 4:56 pm

      And the trajectory is hardly lower per shot. I had already posted this point in the comments and it was deleted. Definitely disappointed in WRX.

  2. frank the tank

    Jan 16, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Isn’t this essentially the same as a 3\4 swing back in the stance? Lower launch angle and less spin due to less hinge equaling less power?

    Your “low” shots in the example don’t seem to go much lower and have way more spin. Could you explain how this will cut through the wind?

  3. Tanner

    Jan 16, 2015 at 7:28 am

    Thanks, Rob. Would this be a good swing for a higher capper whose arms collapse in the backswing?

  4. I am Tigger

    Jan 16, 2015 at 3:07 am

    It’s harder to do it with a lot of the modern shafts that have been designed to jump the ball up in the air quickly THEN flatter at the height, like a lot of the lighter weight shafts with soft tips or shafts that bend a lot in the middle. You’d have to go at least a couple of clubs up, may be even 3 clubs, just to try and keep it low enough these days. The balls also take off so much quicker off the face now, even without spin, they just jump away so quickly that you really have to almost just sweep the ball flat and not engage any kind of downward hit on these new balls.

  5. Rob Strano

    Jan 15, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks for your question Ronald…
    What you want to do in the backswing is feel like the hands hold the same position they do at address as it relates to the club shaft. Think of making a letter “I” in the backswing. In your normal swing when the left arm is parallel to the ground the shaft is vertical at a 90* angle to your left arm forming the letter “L”. Keep that from happening by keeping the hands calm. Now I am not saying get tense and grip it tight and do it. I am communicating controlling the amount of hinge action. There will always be a certain amount of hinge that happens, we are just trying to limit that amount to half of normal or better. Think about the beginners you see at the course that when you watch them have no hand action and hit the ball really low. That is what the cause of this move is but with a really good player you hit bullets through the heaviest winds. And trust me, that day described above wasn’t even a good day for kite flying, let alone hitting a golf ball, and JP just whistled it right through a heavy wind.
    Hope this helps you understand the move to try to make.

    • Philip

      Jan 15, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Thanks, that is what I was thinking how it would be done.

  6. Ronald Montesano

    Jan 15, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    You’re giving us numbers, coach, but what we need is the technique!! I suspect that golfers can figure out the no-hands on the downswing, but what does the backswing look/feel like? Thanks for your time today.

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The Wedge Guy: What really needs fixing in your game?



I always find it interesting to watch how golfers interact with the practice range, if they do so at all. I certainly can figure out how to understand that some golfers just do not really want to get better — at least not enough to spend time on the practice range trying to improve.

What is most puzzling to me is how many golfers completely ignore the rationale for going to the range to at least warm up before they head to the first tee. Why anyone would set aside 4-6 hours of their day for a round of golf, and then not even give themselves a chance to do their best is beyond me. But today, I’m writing for those of you who really do want to improve your golf scores and your enjoyment of the game.

I’ve seen tons of research for my entire 40 years in this industry that consistently shows the number one goal of all golfers, of any skill level, from 100-shooter to tour professional, is simply to hit better golf shots more often. And while our definition of “better” is certainly different based on our respective skill level, the game is just more fun when your best shots happen more often and your worst shots are always getting better.

Today’s article is triggered by what we saw happen at the Valspar tour event this past Sunday. While Taylor Moore certainly had some big moments in a great final round, both Jordan Spieth and Adam Schenk threw away their chances to win with big misses down the stretch, both of them with driver. Spieth’s wayward drive into the water on the 16th and Schenk’s big miss left on the 18th spelled doom for both of them.

It amazes me how the best players on the planet routinely hit the most God-awful shots with such regularity, given the amazing talents they all have. But those guys are not what I’m talking about this week. In keeping with the path of the past few posts, I’m encouraging each and every one of you to think about your most recent rounds (if you are playing already this year), or recall the rounds you finished the season with last year. What you are looking for are you own “big misses” that kept you from scoring better.

Was it a few wayward drives that put you in trouble or even out of bounds? Or maybe loose approach shots that made birdie impossible and par super challenging? Might your issue have been some missed short putts or bad long putts that led to a three-putt? Most likely for any of you, you can recall a number of times where you just did not give yourself a good chance to save par or bogey from what was a not-too-difficult greenside recovery.

The point is, in order to get consistently better, you need to make an honest assessment of where you are losing strokes and then commit to improving that part of your game. If it isn’t your driving that causes problems, contain that part of practice or pre-round warm-ups to just a half dozen swings or so, for the fun of “the big stick”. If your challenges seem to be centered around greenside recoveries, spend a lot more time practicing both your technique and imagination – seeing the shot in your mind and then trying to execute the exact distance and trajectory of the shot required. Time on the putting green will almost always pay off on the course.

But, if you are genuinely interested in improving your overall ball-striking consistency, you would be well-served to examine your fundamentals, starting with the grip and posture/setup. It is near impossible to build a repeating golf swing if those two fundamentals are not just right. And if those two things are fundamentally sound, the creation of a repeating golf swing is much easier.

More from the Wedge Guy

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Clement: It’s hard to hit the driver badly when you’re doing this



Mu and I go through the swing of the driver in slow motion to show the difference between hitting at the ball and then trying to move it to target versus collecting the ball from the top of the tee and releasing it into the flight plan. Check out the video to learn what this means for your golf swing.

Also: Congrats on Savy getting another personal best of 337 yards at the WLD event in Mesquite!

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How to hit a fade…according to YouTube, a robot, and GolfWRX members



How to hit a fade. At some point, if you aren’t a habitual slicer of the golf ball and are able to hit a draw with regularity, in your quest to become a better golfer, you’re going to want to know how to do this.

Without debating the relative merits of a draw versus a fade, it’s agreed that working the golf ball both ways is key to to scoring, positioning off the tee, and risk minimization. If you’re a golfer who is currently only slinging draws, we have some advice for you on how to hit a fade from three very different sources.

Ben Hogan how to hit a fade

Ben Hogan: A man who knew how to hit a fade


How to hit a fade…

…according to a robot (that is, A.I. language model ChatGPT):

A fade is a type of golf shot that curves gently from left to right (for a right-handed golfer). If you want to know how to hit a fade, follow these steps:

  1. Set up for the shot: Aim your clubface at the target, but align your feet, hips, and shoulders slightly to the left of the target. This open stance will help promote a left-to-right spin on the ball.
  2. Grip the club: Hold the club normally, but slightly weaken your grip by turning your hands slightly to the left (again, for a right-handed golfer). This will help you hit the ball with an open clubface.
  3. Swing the club: On your backswing, keep your clubface square to the target for as long as possible. Then, on your downswing, try to swing slightly from the inside to out, which will help produce the left-to-right spin on the ball. Finally, make sure to follow through towards the target with a high finish.
  4. Practice: Hitting a consistent fade can take some practice. Spend time on the driving range and experiment with different grip and swing adjustments until you find what works best for you.

Remember, hitting a fade is not about hitting the ball harder, it’s about controlling the spin and direction of the ball. With practice, you can learn to hit a reliable fade that can help you navigate tricky golf course layouts.

Hitting a fade takes practice, and it may take some trial and error to find the right adjustments for your swing. It’s also important to note that a fade is not necessarily the ideal shot shape for every situation, so it’s important to be comfortable with hitting a variety of shots on the golf course.

How to hit a fade…according to the most-watched video on YouTube on the subject

With more than one million views on YouTube, this video from Any and Piers of MeAndMyGolf not only covers hitting a fade but also discussing drawing the golf ball as well as hitting it high and low.

…according to GolfWRXers

And of course, our GolfWRX forum members have opinions on the subject.

The appropriately named PreppySlapCut said: “If the face is open to the path, the ball is going to fade. There’s several adjustments you can make to encourage that to happen, it’s just a question of what feels best for you and allows you to do it most consistently.”

Bladehunter says: “For me just the sensation of taking the club back outside your hands , and then swing left with a face square to target , while turning hard as you can makes for a pretty straight flight that won’t hook. Unless you stall and let your hands pass you.”

“That’s my take as an upright swinger If you’re really flat it’s going to be tough to time up and never have the two way miss Because you’re always coming from the inside and will rely on timing the face open or shut to see a fade or draw . For me it’s just set the face at address and feel like you hold it there until impact”

Dpd5031 says: “Had a pro teach me this. Aim a little left, stance slightly open, still hit it from the inside (just like your draw), but unwind chest hard letting handle follow your rotation so toe never passes heel. He called it a “drawy fade.” Ball takes off almost looking like it’s going to draw, but tumbles over to the right instead of left. Cool thing is ya dont give up any distance doing it this way as opposed to cutting across it.”

Scottbox says: “Jon Rahm is a good example. Watch the hand path of his backswing– his hands are not as “deep” as someone who draws the ball (i.e. Rory). And even though he has a slightly shut face, Rahm rotates his chest and hips very hard. Because there’s less depth to his backswing, the club gets more in front of him at P6. He’s most likely 1-2* outside in at last parallel. Brooks Koepka has a longer swing, but similar, in terms of his hand path– well above the shaft plane going up with less depth to his hands at the top, and slightly above the plane coming down.”

“Most good modern players rotate pretty hard with their hips and chest to stabilize the face, but the difference between those who draw it and those who hit a baby cut is often seen in the way they “engineer” their backswing patterns.”

Check out more of the “how to hit a fade” discussion in the forum thread.


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