How Do I Hit A Simple Golf Flop Shot 1

The flop shot is one of the best show stopping golf shots in the game.

The bravery, confidence, skill level, accuracy and precision makes you look like the boss amongst your playing partners when you execute this incredibly difficult, high lofted, floating golf shot over a bunker or a hazard, straight on to the green close to the pin. However, it can also make you look like a real hacker if you attempt this very challenging golf shot and completely mess it up. The golf ball may shoot straight across the green with more ball speed than your best drive of the day and shoots into trouble or the golf ball may pop five yards in front of you because you have scuffed the floor and duffed the shot into the bunker or hazard. The tip is designed to make you the envy of your playing partners when you make flop shots look easy and risk free.

Fault - Struggling to execute the flop shot with any real precision and accuracy results in a poor golf shot that finishes nowhere near the intended target. This is mainly due to an incorrect and complicated set up position that many golfers attempt to mould themselves into. There is a misconception of opening the club face and the stance, and cutting across the golf ball with huge amounts of power and speed. This is not what is required to play the simple flop shot.

Fix - The simple flop shot can be creating by just tweaking the set up of the golf club at address. Firstly, you do need to choose the correct club for a shot that needs plenty of loft and height to make the golf ball shoot into the air with ease. Using your most lofted club is your golf set is recommended. Most golfers carry a lob wedge, however if you do not have one, a sand wedge would be sufficient. The next step is to increase the loft of your selected club without making huge adjustments. Set up to a short shot that requires height in your normal set up position, making sure you are set up parallel to the target line. Be sure that the golf ball is placed just in front of the middle of your stance. Open the golf club face by turning the toe of the club slightly away from the target so that it appears that the leading edge is aiming slightly to the right (left handed golfers to the left) then re-grip the golf club again in this position.

Key tip - The logo or alignment aid on the grip of the golf club should now not be straight with where you are holding the golf club because of the face adjustment.

From this point, simply lower your hands so that the club lies flatter at address (the shaft of the golf club points more at your legs than your torso). This in turn will cause the club face to aim straight at the target, however this time with much greater loft. The reason for this is because the loft of the club face is so great that when flattened the face plane tilt of the club face will aim straight at the target, however will look open and more lofted.

Swing as you would normally, focusing on a slightly longer swing than normal due to the extra loft imparted on the club face and enjoy the extra height you will achieve using a very simple and basic technique.

How Do I Hit a Simple Golf Flop Shot?

How Do I Hit a Simple Golf Flop Shot?

If you want to impress your friends on the golf course, hit a flop shot. There are few shots in the game which look as impressive as a properly-executed flop shot which lands gently near the hole. Of course, there is a reason that this shot is considered so impressive – it is extremely difficult to execute. The title of this article references a 'simple' flop shot, but in reality, there is no such thing. Flop shots are tricky, and they should only be considered as a last resort when no easier options are available.

In this article, we are going to walk you through the process of hitting a flop shot. You will be provided with the basic technical points so you can get out and work on adding this shot to your own game. Also, we are going to discuss course management as it relates to the flop shot. Specifically, how do you know when the time is right to hit a flop? Making smart decisions on the course is nearly as important as executing your technique properly. By the end of the article, we hope to have provided you with a clear picture of all topics related to the flop.

Getting back to what we were discussing in the opening paragraph, you should never choose to hit a flop shot just because it might impress the others in your group. Course management decisions should always be based on picking the easiest path to the target – and only on a rare occasion is the easiest option going to mean sending the ball high into the sky. Golf is easier when the ball is played low to the ground. That is a tip you should keep near the front of your mind anytime you are chipping or pitching from around the green. Keep the ball down as your default option and gradually look higher and higher based on the circumstances you face. In an ideal world, you will only have to play one or two high short game shots throughout the course of a given round. The more often you can play the ball low, the more consistent your short game results will be.

We should also mention a quick equipment point before we get into the instructional sections of this article. To hit a flop shot, you are naturally going to need a club which is well-suited to the task. That means carrying a lob wedge, or at least a sand wedge with a high degree of loft. It would be best to have either a 58* or 60* wedge in your bag, but you might be able to get by with a 58* as long as it has a low bounce angle. If you don't yet carry a high-lofted wedge in your bag, consider adding one while taking out one of your rarely-used long irons. Trading out a long iron for an extra wedge is almost always going to benefit your game in the long run.

All of the content in this article has been written from the perspective of a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Picking the Right Time

Picking the Right Time

We are going to start with strategy. After all, great technique is nothing without a solid strategy to match. If you are constantly trying to hit flop shots when the time isn't right, you will surely be wasting strokes as you go around the course. As mentioned earlier, it is best to keep the ball down near the ground whenever you can. With that said, there are occasions when the best choice is a high flop shot that stops almost immediately after it lands. How do you know when you should pull your flop shot out of the bag? Consider the following tips.

  • There is no low path available. As you walk up to your ball somewhere near the green, the first thing you should be doing is checking for a low path that you could use to take the ball from its location up to the hole. Can you play a simple bump-and-run shot to get the job done? Maybe a small pitch, where the ball carries just a short distance before landing on the green and rolling the rest of the way? If not, you might need to start thinking about a flop. Usually, a flop shot will be called for when you are playing from the short side and you have something significant in your way as an obstacle. For instance, you might need to hit the shot over a bunker, or over a slope which is covered in long grass. Whatever the case, your mind will need to turn to a flop shot when there is no low or medium-height option on the table.
  • You have a good lie. Another piece of the puzzle is your lie. Without a good lie, playing a high flop shot is simply not going to be an option. Ideally, your ball will be sitting in the light rough, with enough space between the ball and the ground for your club to slide through at impact. If the ball is sitting on a clean lie in the fairway, it will be difficult to hit a clean flop shot (not impossible, but doing so would require great skill). Likewise, it is going to be hard to hit a good flop shot from deep rough, as the rough will slow the club down and twist the club head. If you have any doubts regarding the lie, skip the flop and use the next best available option. When a flop shot goes wrong it can get you into serious trouble, so don't take any unnecessary chances. Only proceed when you are sure the lie is on your side.
  • You aren't under a lot of pressure. It is best to avoid hitting flop shots when you are feeling particularly nervous or anxious about the situation. For example, if you are playing a match against a friend and the score is close with only a few holes to play, pulling your flop shot out of the bag might not be the right call. The nerves you are feeling will make it more difficult to execute the shot properly. Unless there is simply no other way to play the shot, take the easier way out and avoid the flop – even if that means playing to a spot which is slightly farther from the target. Only go for the flop shot when you feel that you are in control of your nerves and able to execute your technique cleanly.

Once you add the ability to hit a flop shot to your game, you will then be able to start looking for places to use it. At first, you may have trouble spotting opportunities, as you are going to default to the short game shots you have been using for years. However, with time, you will start to find more and more places where it makes sense to deploy the flop shot in order to place the ball close to the hole. As long as your technique is solid and your nerves are steady, you should be able to put your flop to use effectively on plenty of occasions.

Building Simple Mechanics

Building Simple Mechanics

As mentioned in the introduction, the flop shot probably shouldn't be described as 'simple'. It is one of the hardest shots in the game to hit, after all. With that said, your technique doesn't need to be complicated. By building simple mechanics that allow you to swing the club in the same fashion over and over again, you will be able to produce reliable results with this shot. It is never going to be an easy shot, but you can make it a bit easier by fine-tuning your technique.

The list below contains the key points to keep in mind as you work on building a solid flop shot swing.

  • Use a strong grip. To start with, you need to create a strong grip at address. That means turning your left and right hands both to the right on the grip prior to starting the swing. A strong grip is going to make it easier for you to release the club through the hitting area – and a good flop shot will always feature an aggressive release. Even if you prefer to use a weak grip for the rest of your swings, make sure to employ a strong grip when trying to hit a flop. For players who are used to using a neutral or weak grip, this change is going to feel awkward at first. Stick with it, give yourself some time to get comfortable, and watch your results gradually improve.
  • Play from a wide stance. Along with the strong grip, this is another crucial piece of the flop shot puzzle. At address, you should have your feet outside of shoulder width apart in order to create a strong base. Although you are only hitting a short shot, you are going to be making a rather long swing to do so. With that in mind, it is important to use a wide stance to make sure you stay on balance from start to finish. The stance you use for your flop shots should actually be similar in width to the stance you use when hitting a driver.
  • Make a big shoulder turn. You are going to need to swing hard in order to hit a proper flop shot. And, when you need to swing hard, you need to put your shoulders into action. When the swing starts, focus on the goal of turning your left shoulder all the way under your chin. If you can do so effectively, you will have plenty of room you can use on the downswing to accelerate the club. Many golfers fail to make much of a shoulder turn at all when trying to hit a flop shot, and they struggle to create the necessary speed as a result. It takes time to make a good shoulder turn, so don't rush through the action. Take a deep breath, give yourself time, and turn all the way back before swinging down through the ball.
  • Keep your head down! Okay – so this is a tip you have probably heard a million times when reading instruction articles and books. It needs to be highlighted here – with an exclamation point – because it is so critical to the flop shot. If you make the mistake of looking up early when hitting a flop, you will pay the price. Bringing your head up out of the swing before you have made contact is a sure way to hit the ball thin. And, when you hit a thin shot while trying to execute a flop, the ball is going to be sent shooting quickly across the green and likely into trouble. You absolutely have to keep your head down when attempting this play. Focus your eyes on the ball and keep them there until the shot is on its way and you can safely look up to see how you've done.

Nothing about the instruction above is particularly complicated or hard to follow. There are only four points, and they are actually quite basic in nature. You will need to use a strong grip, form a wide stance, make a good shoulder turn, and keep your head down. That's it! Of course, it sounds easier than it is going to be in the real world. The challenging part with a flop shot isn't necessarily learning the technique – it is executing that technique properly to wind up with the desired outcome.

Practicing Your Flop Shot

Practicing Your Flop Shot

You aren't going to learn this shot just by sitting around and hoping for the best. You actually have to get out and work on your flop shot technique if you are going to see results. Now that you know what you should be doing as you build a flop shot, the next step is to find a place to practice and get to work.

It can actually be tricky to find a good place to practice your flop shots. Not only do you need to locate a golf course near you which has a short game practice area, but you need to find one with a safe place to hit flop shots. What does that mean? Well, since the flop shot is a highly-volatile play, you don't want to be learning it in an area where miss-hit shots could be dangerous. For example, if there is a parking lot on the other side of the practice green, working on your flop shots could result in a few broken windows. You need to look for a place where no harm will be done if you happen to send one or two shots rocketing off into the distance. Check around with your local golf courses and hopefully you will be able to locate one or two places where flop shots are no problem.

When you do get to start practicing this shot, make sure to give yourself a good lie for every swing. Remember, you are only going to be reaching for this shot when you do have a good lie, so it would be silly to try hitting flop shots from tough spots. Find some short rough where the ground is relatively flat and place a few golf balls on that spot to get started. You can experiment a little bit with various slopes and how they affect your flop shot, but don't bother trying to hit this shot out of long rough or off of a hard pan lie.

One way to speed up your improvement with the flop shot is actually to switch back and forth from flop shots to regular chip and pitch shots. If you hit nothing but flop shots during the practice session, you will be able to trick yourself into thinking you have made progress. This will be false progress, however, as you won't ever get to hit that many flop shots in a row on the course. Try varying your practice routine as you go, only hit one flop shot for every few balls. With this practice technique you can teach yourself how to call on your flop swing when it is needed without having to get into too much of a rhythm to do so.

Flop Shot Troubleshooting

Flop Shot Troubleshooting

As you go through the process of learning this shot, there are some things which are sure to go wrong along the way. This is a hard shot, and this is a hard game. Even the best players in the world struggle when they learn new skills, and you are not going to be any different. Instead of giving up or getting frustrated when you have some troubles, you should instead be practical about the situation and look for answers. To help you find those answers, we have listed some troubleshooting points below.

  • Make a bigger swing when leaving shots short. Most golfers who try to learn the flop shot get frustrated when they keep coming up short time after time. This is natural because hitting a flop shot requires a much bigger, more aggressive swing than you might imagine. Even though you are only a few yards from the target in some cases, you still need to make a big swing. Think of the swing you need to make for a flop shot as being similar to that which you use in a greenside bunker. For an explosion shot in a sand trap, you make a big swing with an open club face and slide the club through the sand and under the ball. The story is the same here, only you will be sliding the club through the light rough instead of the sand.
  • Open the face when hitting the ball too far. If you are making the opposite mistake of the one listed above, and you are hitting your flop shots too far, adjust by opening up the face of the wedge farther at address. You should have the face open to the point where it is basically pointing straight up to the sky. If you were to set a bottle of water on the face at address, it should stay there without any problem. This is another one of those flop shot points that is hard to trust at first. You simply have to believe that laying the face open in this manner is going to lead to a good result.
  • Add right hand action to hit the ball higher. It is possible that you will find you are able to pull off a reasonable flop shot rather quickly – but that flop shot may not be as high in the air as you would like. If you aren't hitting the ball high enough, your flop shot really isn't going to do you much good. A low flop shot won't allow you to stop the ball quickly, and that is the whole point of using this method. To move the ball higher into the air, add right hand action through the hitting area. As you swing down, think about firing your right hand aggressively through the shot. Doing so will expose the full loft of the club to the ball at impact, and it will add backspin to the shot as well. With a little practice, you should be able to get comfortable with using your right hand to send the club head tearing through impact with no hesitation.

The flop shot is always going to be a tricky one, and it is never going to be your main short game option. With that in mind, it is still a useful shot, and it is still one which you should take the time to learn. Once you know how to hit a flop shot, keep it in the back of your mind as you play and put it into action when the time is right. Good luck!