How to (Finally) a Hit High, Soft Flop Shot

05/02/2018

Do you ever watch the pros hit those high, soft flop shots and wonder, “How do I do that?”

A lot of weekend golfers dream of being able to pop their flop shot ball up high and soft, landing it exactly where they want it. Unfortunately, a lot of weekend golfers also assume this dream lies beyond their capabilities. As a PGA teaching professional, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be a tour pro to master the high, soft flop shot. With the right technique and little bit of practice, you’ll finally be able to manage those tricky shots around the green.

I am going to share my 3 secrets to finally hitting those high, soft shots. I’ll explain the keys to:

  • Proper backstroke technique
  • Downstroke feel
  • The overarching concept that ties it all together

Some of my advice may contradict tips you’ve heard in the past. But once you put these three tips into practice, you will discover that hitting those high, soft shots is not as difficult as you thought.

The Three Tips for Hitting High, Soft Flop Shots

Before we get into the three tips, it is important to understand one key concept:

Hitting a high, soft flop shot is all about maximizing loft and bounce.

To hit a flop shot, you want to start with a high-lofted club. I often use a club with a 56-degree loft, though you could go as high as a 58 or 60.

That said, it’s not all about the club. Your technique makes a significant difference in achieving that maximum loft and bounce. In fact, the tips I am about to share with you are designed to help you do exactly that.

Tip #1:  The Backstroke

When you take a flop shot, the backswing is the perfect opportunity to add loft.

When I work with my students, I often tell them I want to see a “toe swing.” This means I want to see the toe rotate away from the ground as they swing back. By doing this, you add loft and greatly increase your odds of popping the ball high and soft.

 

Be aware, however, that it is important to still keep the clubhead outside your hands, even as you rotate the toe. Many golfers make the mistake of rotating the clubhead open and inside the hands. Basically, this means your hands are on a plane farther out from your body than your clubhead is. This common backstroke error creates a major problem when you swing through–causing your clubhead to bottom out too far behind the ball.

So, on the backswing, rotate the toe, but also be sure the club shaft is still pointed away from your body.

Now, let’s talk about your downstroke.

Tip #2:  The Downstroke

You’ve just taken your backswing, rotating the toe of the clubhead while keeping the clubhead outside your hands.

Now, on the downstroke, allow your lead wrist to cup when as you swing through. To get a clearer sense of what I mean, think of the logo on the closure of your golf glove.  As you swing through, you want that logo working up towards the sky. This motion adds bounce and keeps the clubface open.

Many golfers struggle with the habit of rotating the toe through the downstroke, turning that logo towards the ground. That technique may be fine when you’re swinging a 7-iron or you want to make a low shot. But remember, for this high, soft flop shot, you need maximum loft and bounce.

In order to pop the golf ball up, make sure that logo is working up towards the sky.

Tip #3:  The Overall Motion

This third secret to hitting a high, soft flop shot is somewhat controversial. You may have received advice on chipping motion that is the exact opposite of what I am about to tell you. You may find that you disagree with this tip. If you do, please let us know in the comments section–I’m always interested to hear a difference of opinion.

However, I will say that the advice I am about to give has been a game-changer for many of my students.

The overarching goal when hitting a flop shot should be to make the shot as easy as possible. You do this by limiting your wrist motion.

Most golfers have learned to pop the ball up by hinging their wrists on the backstroke, uncocking the wrist on the downstroke, and finally, re-hinging through impact. In all fairness, some golfers have success hitting the ball this way. You may even notice some of your favorite pro golfers using this technique. However, most people–including tour pros I work with–are better off keeping their hands passive.

By “passive,” I mean limiting wrist movement. Instead of hinging, you push the handle away through your swing. The handle should move in the same direction as your clubhead. If you find your handle tilting toward the target as the clubhead moves away on the backswing, you’ll know you’re hinging. And when you hinge, you de-loft the clubface.

As we know, that loft is crucial to popping the ball high and soft.

The best thing about Tip #3 is that this particular secret is really just about keeping it simple. No complicated mechanics. No precise timing. Just make the motion of your swing as simple as possible, and you’re likely to get the result you’re looking for.

Overview

Let’s review.

In order to master that high, soft flop shot, remember to:

  • Rotate the toe on the backswing.
  • Cup your wrist as you swing through so the closure on your glove works up toward the sky.
  • Keep your hands passive, pushing the handle away instead of hinging the wrists.

Also keep in mind that all of these steps help you fulfill the most important goal of the flop shot: maximum loft and bounce.

Practice these key secrets, and I guarantee you will start popping your golf ball high and soft in no time.

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