I have a confession to make, the flop shot is one of my favorite shots in all of golf. I cannot explain why, I just know there is a sense of satisfaction when you see a flop shot sky through the air and land softly right next to the hole.
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I remember taking my groomsmen to Hidden Hills Country Club in Jacksonville, FL to play a round before my wedding. On the 16th hole I hit a drive right behind a pretty good size bush and about 20 yards off the green. I hit a flop shot that basically landed on top of the flag and just stuck right next to the green waiting for me to tap it in. There is just something about a flop shot that I love.
The following is a tutorial on How To Hit A Flop Shot that I hope helps you to build a strong foundation for this great golf shot.
Before We Get Started On How To Hit A Flop Shot
What Exactly Is a Flop Shot?
A flop shot is a high, soft landing shot that lands on the green and stops quickly after landing. It is not usually an overly accurate shot because of the height it achieves, but if you learn how to judge it, it can be one of the most fun and effective shots to hit.
When Do You Need to Be Able to Hit a Flop Shot?
Because of the difficulty and lack of accuracy of the flop shot, there are relatively few times when you want to play it. Pitching and chipping are far more effective short game strategies to take as they do not travel as far or high in the air. However, there are a few times when a flop shot is necessary and important including but not limited to these situations:
- When you are close to the green but you have very little green to work with.
- When there is an obstacle between you and the green that requires you to hit a high shot to make it over.
- Anytime you need a shot between 10 and 40 yards to stop on a dime and the ball is in good position.
Why Is The Flop Shot Important?
What separates good players from really good players? The ability to get up and down. Getting the ball up and down more often is all about good putting and a short game that gives you a chance. The truth is that a lot of really good golfers miss the green from 150 yards out really often. The difference is that when they are 10 to 30 yards off the green, their par putt will be from 8 feet rather than 20. Single digit handicappers have a lot of different shots that they can creatively play around the greens, and the flop shot is one of them.
What Club Would You Most Likely Use to Hit a Flop Shot?
The answer to this questions depends on the number of wedges that you carry in your bag. Generally, however, if you have the skill set to hit a good flop shot, then chances are you are carrying a Lob wedge in your bag that is anywhere from 58 to 62 degrees and this is the club you should use.
What You Will Need To Hit A Flop Shot
Your club does not have to have an “L” on it to be used for a flop shot, but you do want to use the highest lofted club in your bag.
The Correct Lie
If you do not have the right lie, do not even try to hit a flop shot, it probably will not work. You want the ball to either be in the fairway or in the light rough where it is sitting up on the grass but not “fluffy” and unstable. On hard ground you are more likely to bounce of the ground and skull the shot and if the ball is sitting too high there is a good chance you will hit the ball too far up your club face and chunk it.
The flop shot is different than any other shot in your arsenal. The swing plane is different, the open stance is hard to get used to, and even the ball flight and roll can be difficult to predict. If you do not have a good imagination or creativity, then this shot will probably be difficult for you to get used to.
Step-By-Step Instructions On How To Hit A Flop Shot
Step 1. Setup
The setup to your shot is vital in hitting a successful flop. To do it right make sure you do these things prior to even making your first club movement:
- Open the clubface behind the ball to whatever level you want to hit your shot.
- Opening the clubface should force you to open your stance which means that your legs should be aiming left of the target even though the clubface is aiming straight towards it.
- Do not press your hands forward at all, if anything the butt of your club can actually be facing to the right of your belt buckle.
- You should have about 70% of your weight on your left side. In fact, I have heard it said that you should have so much weight on the front leg that you could easily stand on it while completing the shot. Your weight stays forward throughout the shot.
Step 2. Ball Position
I know that ball position is part of the setup, but it is so important for a flop shot that I gave it its own section. The ball should always be front of center, but the key is that the higher you want to hit the shot, the farther up in your stance it should be. Learning where in your stance to place the ball for which height and distance, however, takes some time and practice.
Step 3. Takeaway/Backswing
Your wrists are a lot more active in a flop shot than most golf shots, and they hinge very quickly during the takeaway. Your first move should be to bring the club back slightly outside and that wrist hinge should start with that first movement. Also remember to keep the clubface open throughout the swing and especially during the backswing when you have the tendency to revert to your normal golf swing.
Step 4. Swing Length
This is probably obvious, but the further back you bring the club and the longer your swing is, the farther and higher the ball will travel. Again, learning how long of a swing you need depending on the height and distance desired is something that takes time and practice.
Step 5. Transition/Downswing
When you transition to your downswing, remember to not let your hands get in front of the club and whatever you do, do not decelerate. Your weight is forward and your clubface is open, so deceleration will kill your shot and the ball will not get off the ground like you want it to. It is also an outside – in swing and you want the club to slide under the ball at impact.
Step 6. Follow Through
Your follow through should mirror your backswing in distance, and there should be very little weight transfer as it should all pretty much stay on your front foot throughout. It is important that you are able to balance throughout the shot on that front foot and hold your follow through just like you would any other shot. Even though your feet are pointed to the left of your target, your hands and club should follow through directly towards to target and finish there as well.
One thing that is important with a lob shot is that it is more about feel, hands, and wrists than almost any other shot in golf. Form and fundamentals are important, but you will never get good at a flop shot until you get on the course or range and start practicing it. The shot is all about keeping the club face open and accelerating underneath the ball for almost glancing rather than solid impact.
Start With Half Shots, Work Your Way Up
You do not even need to start at half shots when you are working on the flop shot. Just learning to get the ball under the club and hitting the ball with all of your weight forward is important and you can do that with even less than a half shot.
Here’s a quick video from Phil Mickelson on how he approaches the flop shot:
Final Thoughts On How To Hit A Flop Shot
The truth is, you do not want to have to use the flop shot if you do not have to. It is a difficult shot and has many moving parts and things that could go wrong. At the same time, it is a vital shot to have in your arsenal because there are times when you need it. Remember, good players just get the ball on the green and putt, great players get the ball up and down and adding a flop shot to your repertoire will help you be great.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned a little more than you knew before about how to hit a flop shot. We would love to hear from you and how you are progressing with this fun but difficult shot, so leave a comment and a pic below. Also, if this tutorial helped you in your golf game, share it with your friends and allow it to help them as well.