Now before I dive too deep into this blog, let me preface it with the fact that I believe the flop shot may be one of the most overrated shots in golf. Instead of overrated golfers, SI.com should have asked about overrated golf shots. It’s necessary, sure, but only at times. It is overused and often, misinterpreted.
Hey, when the flop shot is needed and beckons our names, it is an extremely useful shot to have in the bag. ‘Useful shot, mate,’ as the folks at Sportscenter say.
So after I dog on the shot, time for me to lay out a few fundamentals necessary for being able to pull this shot off.
Fundamentals of a Flop Shot
1. Use a club with high loft
This should come as a given, but I will address this either way. Don’t use a pitching wedge or a 9-iron for this shot, please. Pull out your 60 degree wedge, your 58 degree wedge or in a worst-case scenario, which ever “L” or “S” wedge you have in your bag.
If you don’t have anything with higher loft than a pitching wedge, you’re best odds to execute the shot are actually to just hit a normal shot and try to bank it off the slope, chase it through the rough or use the edge of a bunker.
2. Open the face of the club, THEN re-grip the club
This is a problem seen often among people trying to pull off the flop shot. To open the club, they maintain their grip on the club and essentially, twist their hands away from the target to “open the club.” This will not help with execution. All it does is change your position at address. Impact with the ball will not change, unless there is some massive club manipulation with the hands.
Turn the club so it faces open (points more toward the sky) and NOW grip the club.
By doing this, you’ve added significant loft to the club and given yourself the best chance at impact to pull the shot off.
3. Create space between you and the ball
When you crowd (stand too close) the golf ball, it becomes very hard to allow the clubhead to release under the ball and loft the ball high into the air.
Have you ever heard Tiger Woods use the term, “I got stuck?” He uses this to describe the feeling when his hands get behind his body, making it very hard to get the club on a proper path naturally. It takes compensation with the hands, which is not something to employ for effectiveness in a flop shot like this.
Make sure you’ve given yourself some space by hanging your arms down from your shoulders and gripping the club from there. If you feel a little close, feel free to move an inch away from the ball. Standing too close is death on this shot.
4. Ball position off the front foot
Too often, golfers play these shots off the middle or back of their stance. This gives the golf club no chance to move through the ball correctly for a flop shot.
In order to pull this shot off, the ball needs to be where you’d place a 4-iron or a 5-iron, inside your lead foot. Too far forward will lead to a “lunge” at the golf ball, causing skulls or vicious chunks. Too far back, is dangerous.
Address this aspect of the shot after you’ve put the club in the correct position with an open clubface. The correct position will become a bit more apparent.
5. Accelerate through the ball
Decelerating through the golf ball on this shot is absolutely detrimental. Do you want to ensure a flub? Then decelerate on your way down. The margin for error has been reduced significantly.
Instead, make sure you are increasing your speed through the ball.
An important thing to keep in mind is tempo. Accelerating too much leads to poor tempo. Making sure it’s “two counts back,” “one count through” is a nice way to make sure you’re accelerating, but not compromising tempo.
6. Keep the clubface LOW through impact
This tip is more of an supporting idea, but the thought should help with keeping the face low will make sure that the club is able to work through the turk and under the golf ball. The shot can still be performed with the face moving to a high finish, but again, you’re reducing your margin for error.
If the club remains low through impact, you’ll be able to allow it to work better through the ball.
BONUS TIP: 7. Face to the sky
Watch Phil Mickelson hit the shot. He keeps the face of his wedge working toward the sky for as long as possible. Stop reading what I am saying, just watch what he does. Seriously >>>
Just listen to Phil give great advice: