Hitting the Flop Shot
It's been a while since I tackled a topic that was about hitting one particular kind of shot but here we go. I received a question from a reader, Herbie G., who is puzzled by the flop shot. Specifically, he asked:
"I read your recent answer regarding most amateurs' problem using a lob wedge, such as a 60 degree wedge to make short pitches around the green. I have had the exact problem you mentioned. That is, I have been having a terrible time trying to use it when the ball is 4-10 feet off the green and the pin is close to the to the near edge of the green. It seems that to make a good shot under such a circumstance, a perfect execution of a “flop shot” is necessary. Would you please share with us amateurs your advice as to how we should hit such a shot?"Well, Herbie, the “flop” shot is one of the hardest to learn, but can be a stroke saver when the situation arises where you have no other option. Understand that this is not your “go to” shot around the greens, as it is much more difficult to execute than a basic pitch shot, and much harder to accurately judge the distance the ball will carry. But, if you will practice it on the range and around the practice green, you will have it in your arsenal when those situations arise where it is necessary.
First of all, this shot requires a wedge of at least 57-58 degrees of loft, even up to 60-61. The sole design should allow you to lay the face open without raising the leading edge too much off the turf.
Secondly, the lie must allow this shot to be played with some assurance and confidence. Very tight lies on firm turf are the toughest; should you face that, the lob shot is probably not your best option. But if you have the right wedge and the shot is required to get close to the hole, here’s my guide as to how you want to execute it.
Be precise in your set-up and align your hips and shoulders slightly left of your target line. The front foot should be pulled back even a bit more. Your arms should be hanging naturally from your shoulders and a little more flex in your knees puts you slightly lower to the ball. To execute the flop shot, you also need a very light, stress-free grip on the club, and I suggest gripping down about half way down the grip of the high-loft wedge.
The take-away is rather steep, and you set your hands earlier than you would for a typical pitch shot. I also like to see the club go more around the body to keep the swing plane flatter. Rotate the shoulders back to get a full upper body turn, even on a short shot.
The downswing is V-E-R-Y - S-L-O-W and deliberate . . . almost lazy. The upper body core rotates through the ball, with the arms and hands following. You should allow a full release of the hands, so that the clubhead is just catching up as they reach the ball. Focus your eyes on the backside of the ball and try to get the club to make contact with the ball and turf at the same time. That maximizes the loft on the club, and produces the pop-up flight with increased spin.
The follow through should be complete and your sternum facing the target as your club comes to a stop. The hands and club should be well left of the target, and left of your body.
I hope this gets you started Herbie, and that the flop shot becomes a valued shot in your short game arsenal. I’m sure the readers will have other tips to help you break through the mystery and perfect this shot for your own game.
Thanks for reading and writing in, and that new EIDOLON V-SOLE wedge should give you a good head start on your flop shot adventure.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.
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