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correct answer Opening the clubface to the target before taking your grip

The flop shot is a short pitch that flies very high and lands with a soft thud on the green, with little or no roll after landing. Its an incredibly handy shot when youve got to clear a bunker or rough but have little green between trouble and the pin.

Four-time major winner Phil Mickelson didnt invent the flop shot, but hes turned it into something between an art form… and a sideshow. Achieving Mickelson-level mastery is nearly impossible, of course, but even modestly skilled golfers can learn and execute an effective version.

The first key is choosing the right club – a lob wedge (58° - 64°) if youve got one, a sand wedge if not. Thats the easy part.

Many golfers go wrong when setting up to hit a flop shot. They grip the club normally, then open the clubface, pointing it right of the target (assuming a right-handed golfer). Just before swinging, they unwittingly close the clubface by turning the hands back to their normal position while still gripping the club. They lose the added loft needed to generate extra height, causing the ball to come out lower and fly farther than expected.

Heres the proper way to set up for a successful flop shot:

  • With your feet slightly open to the target line and the ball positioned between left heel and center stance, aim the club just right of target (open) without taking your grip.
  • Once the club is aimed correctly, grip the handle as you would if playing a normal shot. Your left thumb should be left of center on the grips alignment guide.
  • Once ready, make your normal swing. Be sure to accelerate through the shot, and dont worry about the ball rocketing off the clubface. All that loft will send it nice and high.

The golfer whose arsenal includes a reliable flop shot can escape many greenside situations that leave other golfers flummoxed. Check out these videos for additional info:

Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

With the ball right of center in your stance, youll de-loft the clubface and turn your 60° wedge into something closer to 52° – the last thing you want on a flop shot. And if you manage to keep the face open, youll still catch the ball on too much of an inside-out path and send it squirting to the right.

Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

Theres not a single shot in golf where a decelerating swing is recommended, and the flop is no exception. Youll most likely chunk it, and perhaps skull it, by lifting your left shoulder too quickly while the hands and club lag behind. Focus on accelerating to the finish.

Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

To repeat: Your club has enough loft to get the ball sky-high. It doesnt need you to help the ball into the air by flipping the hands and scooping it. Concentrate on slipping the clubface under the ball on a very slight descending angle.