Learn to Put Backspin on Your Wedge Shots

It’s always cool to hit a wedge shot and see it check up on the green. There’s just something about seeing that ball react that peaks our interest. Maybe it comes from watching professional golf and seeing the pro’s do it on a regular basis. It makes us feel like them! The problem for most golfers is the spin only comes on occasion. Most of the time you watch the ball hit the green and release past the hole or over the green. If you could consistently hit wedge shots with spin they would be much easier to control. While there is no “secret tip” or trick that will make you automatically spin your wedges, there are some you can do to increase spin. Let’s look at 3 things that will help you back it up on the greens:
Correct Equipment
Equipment is always important and this case is no different. You must have a high spin golf ball and fresh grooves to put spin on wedge shots. The pro’s you see on TV are using these and if you’re not, it’s just not going to work. From the standpoint of the golf ball you need something that is designed to spin a lot. This generally means the top end ball from a manufacturer. Something like a Titleist ProV1 or a Bridgestone B330 will work well. Using a range ball or a rock hard distance ball is the quickest way to reduce your spin. And while it does hurt to pay $50 for a dozen golf balls, it is useful in this case. From the standpoint of your wedge, you need something with new grooves that have a milled or rough clubface. Spin is a result of the friction that is created between the golf ball and the clubface. If your wedge is old and the grooves are worn that friction just won’t be there. This is also true if the grooves are full of dirt or grass. At the very least clean your grooves, but if you really want to spin the ball, get a new wedge with a milled face.
Solid Contact
After equipment, making solid contact is the next aspect of spinning your wedges. In this case solid contact actually means 2 things. One it means hitting the golf ball on the center of the clubface. Two it means having a clean lie where the club can contact the ball without hitting grass first. The pros you see on TV spin the ball because they make solid contact. More specifically they make solid contact lower on the face. This produces the most spin possible. If you are hitting wedge shots that don’t spin, there is a good chance you are making contact higher on the face. This usually comes from scooping or trying to get the club under the ball. While there is no direct correlation to hitting down and creating spin, there is a correlation to hitting down and making solid contact. That’s what we are looking for. If you don’t already do it, focus on hitting down, leaning the shaft towards the target at impact, and taking a divot with your wedges. It will make you hit it more solid, which in turn will put more spin on the ball. As far as the lie goes, you must have a clean lie to spin the ball. This means no grass sitting between the clubface and the ball. Any grass or debris (besides sand) that gets between the face and ball will drastically reduce spin. It basically means that if you’re in the rough, don’t expect the ball to back up on the green.
Clubhead Speed

Simple physics say that the harder you hit a golf ball the more opportunity it has to spin. This is one of the reasons why golfers like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson put a lot of spin on their wedge shots. If you imagine a robot that could hit a sand wedge 200 yards, that shot would spin a significant amount. What this means for you is that you need to hit these wedge shots with acceleration. Acceleration keeps the speed up and helps you make solid contact. If you find yourself making a big backswing with a short follow through, you’re probably decelerating into the ball. This will make it difficult to spin the ball. Keep up the speed and you will keep up the spin. Spinning wedges is cool! Follow these guidelines and you will do it on a more consistent basis.

Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com/.

3 Reasons You Hit Behind the Golf Ball

Fat, chunked, chili dipped; call it what you will. As the old saying “thin to win” proclaims, there’s not much worse than hitting behind the golf ball.

The good news is that you’re not alone. We’ve all done it. Even the best players in the world lay the sod over it from time to time. The important thing is to do it less often.

A great way to start the process is by understanding why you hit behind the ball and what you can do to correct it. Here are 3 reasons and fixes for why you hit it fat:
Reason #1- Center of the Swing Moves

Staying centered during the swing big issue for a lot of golfers. If your weight moves laterally (away from the target) on the backswing, the center of your swing moves. The problem with this is that the golf ball does not move with you. Unless you can get the center swing moving forward to meet back up with the golf ball, you’re going to hit it fat.

A good way to stay centered is to get more weight on your front foot at address. The centrifugal force of the golf swing naturally tries to pull your weight away from the target. Setting a little more weight forward counteracts this natural tendency.

Start with pitch shots and wedge shots and feel the weight on the front foot. You’ll most likely notice how this helps you hit down on the ball. After getting the hang of it with the shorter shots, try it with a bigger swing. If it feels strange go back to the shorter swings and gradually work your way up.
Reason #2- Hands Flip Before the Ball

The “flip” or early release is a killer in the golf swing. Not only can it cause you to hit behind the ball, it is also robs you of power and distance. The release point is where the swing hits it top speed and if it happens before the ball, the club will be slowing down when it gets to the ball. No good!

In order to eliminate the flip you need to get your hands leading at impact. The first step to fixing this is to work on reason #1 and get your weight forward at impact. It’s not easy to lead with the hands if you’re weight is on your back foot.

Once you’ve fixed the weight issue, a great way to prevent your hands from flipping is to practice wedge shots. Take a sand or pitching wedge and make some ½ to ¾ practice swings. The goal is to feel the clubhead working down and hitting the ground where the ball would be; in front of the center of your stance.

After you get the feel for leading with the hands and hitting the ground, add a golf ball and hit some shots. Keep the same feeling as with the practice swings. The goal is to feel the club working down, hitting the ball, and then the ground. That’s solid contact!

After you get the hang of the ½ and ¾ swings move up to full swings. The goal is to keep the same feeling as the swing gets larger. The golf club should work down, hit the ball, and then the ground.
Reason #3- Backswing Over Rotation

A common problem is to whip the club inside on the takeaway and over rotate the hips. When this happens the backswing becomes flat and inside and it’s very easy to hit behind the ball.

To avoid this, feel as though the hands, arms, and club move away as one piece during the takeaway. If your takeaway starts with the hands pulling inside or the hips turning the golf club will wind up behind your body. This can lead to the dreaded fat shot.

Here is a great drill to help with your takeaway. Use a 7 iron and grip the club midway down the shaft. Stick the butt of club in your belly button and take your golf posture. The club should be running between your arms and touching your belly button. Now start your backswing and keep the butt of the club attached to your stomach. Do 10 practice takeaways using this drill. What you’ll notice is that everything moves away as one piece. This ensures a solid on plane takeaway.

After doing the drill, hit 4-5 golf balls and try to keep the feeling of the one piece takeaway. Alternate between practice swings and real shots until you get the hang of it. Getting rid of those fat shots will probably take a few strokes off your game and will make you feel a lot better about it.

Use these 3 simple thoughts to improve your game the next time you play.

Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder of Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com/.

Improve Your Club Selection on Short Game Shots

Golf is a complicated game. Not only do you need a good swing, you have to account for the elements, topography, grass, and you have to pick the right club. Sounds complicated! Around the greens can be even trickier from the club selection standpoint. There are just so many different ways to play shots. For a simple shot from the edge of the green, 7 or 8 different clubs could work. So how do we make sense of this and actually pick the club that gives us the best chance for success? Here are 3 things to consider that will lead to better results:
The Lie Determines the Shot
One of the great things about golf is that you rarely see the exact same shot twice. The variety of situations and lies peak our interest and keep the game challenging. Despite this, there are many golfers who don’t pay attention to their lie. The way the golf ball sits on the ground is the number 1 thing you should consider when assessing a shot around the green. Any particular shot becomes exponentially more difficult with a bad lie. If you have shot over a bunker to tight hole location, it would be very difficult to play a flop shot off tight or firm grass. In this instance you would be better suited to play a normal pitch shot with a sand wedge past the hole as opposed to an open faced lob wedge. If your ball is sitting down in heavy rough just off the edge of the green, it would be difficult to use an 8 iron and play a bump and run shot. The straighter face and smaller swing you will take with an 8 iron makes it tough to dig the ball out of the long grass. A better play would be to take a sand or gap wedge, play the ball slightly back in your stance, and dig the ball out. If you’re in a shaved area around the green and your ball is sitting down on some dead or thin grass, it could be tough to hit a normal pitch with a sand wedge. The thin lie makes the margin for error very low. A better play may be to hit a shot with an 8 or 9 iron and even use the putter. Regardless of the situation, make your first priority around the green to judge the lie. From there you can pick a club that will lead to more success.
Focus on Where to Land the Ball
If there’s one thing that good short game players do better than poor short game players, it would the awareness of where to land the ball. Picking a landing spot, and then deciding how much it will roll afterwards makes it much easier to judge. Getting the ball close with chip and pitch shots requires a combination of carry and roll. The more you can understand and merry those 2 together, the easier it will be. When picking a club think about how high the club will make the ball go and how much the ball will roll after it hits the green. From there you can determine where to land the ball. It may take a little practice to get the hang of picking a landing spot. However, after a short time, you will become better at hitting the spots and better at getting your short shots close.
Keep Your Options Simple

Good short game players can use a variety of clubs. In fact Phil Mickeslon could probably get up and down with any club in his bag. Unfortunately you probably don’t have the same skills as Phil Mickelson. When it come stop hitting shots around the greens, the less choices you have to make the easier it should be. If you find yourself trying to decide between a 7, 8, or 9 iron to chip with, you’re making it too difficult. A good rule of thumb is to limit yourself to 3 clubs. This takes away a lot of the back and forth and second guessing of club selection. I personally only use my 9 iron, sand wedge, and lob wedge for shots around the greens. Depending on the makeup of your bag, you could stick to the 8 iron, pitching wedge, and sand wedge, or any other 3 club variation. Often times less is more and around the greens is one of those times. Reduce the number of clubs you use and the decision making process will become easier.

Clay Hood is PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com/

Control Your Distance Better When Hitting Chip Shots

Watching professional golfers hit chip shots is a great thing. It always seems like they have the perfect distance control. This leads to more up and downs, fewer bogeys, and hence, the reason they are on TV. If you could have better distance control when chipping, you would see better results on the course as well. In order to get there let’s take a look at what determines how far your chip shots travel and how you can improve it.
What determines distance?
Solidness of Contact
If you hit one shot solid, one shot fat, and one shot thin, all three shots are going travel different distances. How solid the contact you make is the biggest factor in distance control for chip shots.
How Much Loft is Used?
This actually is more complex than it sounds. It should be obvious that using a club with more loft will produce a higher shot that will travel less distance than a club with less loft. The thing that is less obvious is that a lot of players lean the club forward or close the face which takes loft off of the club. This makes the golf ball travel further.
Speed of the Swing
Simple physics say that the faster the club moves the further the ball will go. It’s very common to see swings that are way too big or small when hitting chip shots.
Now we know what determines distance, let’s improve it.
How to Make Solid Contact
The biggest key to making solid contact is to get the clubhead to hit the ground in the same place each time without digging. It sounds complex but it’s really not that difficult. If the clubhead contacts the ground and you position the ball correctly you’ll hit a solid chip shot. To improve on this focus on setting your hands a few inches ahead of the ball at setup, making a swing with a slight wrist hinge, and feeling your mid-section rotate towards the target. Take 20 practice swings with this feeling and feel the clubhead “thump” the ground each time. After the practice swings add in a golf ball and you’ll see more solid contact.
How to use Consistent Loft
The first part of using consistent loft is using clubs around the greens that you have practiced with and know how far they go. To make this easier reduce the number of clubs you use around the green. Sticking to the sand wedge, pitching wedge, and 8 iron makes your decisions much easier. The second part of consistent loft is not leaning the shaft of the club too far forward. A lot of golfers want to do this and end up hitting down too much. This takes the loft off the club and can also lead to the clubhead digging into the ground. Set your hands just a few inches ahead of the golf ball and distance control will be more consistent.
How to have Consistent Swing Speed

The key to having consistent speed on your chip shot swings is to swing with balance and good tempo. This means that the backswing and the follow through should be similar sized. A lot of players make big backswing with very short follow through or vice-versa. This makes distance control difficult. Make 20-30 practice swings and focus on having both sides of the swing be the same size. The swing should also have good tempo and smooth movement. There should be no jagged or quick movements. Once you get the feel with the practice swings add a ball and maintain that good balance and tempo. Spend some time working on these three areas and your distance control will be much more consistent.

Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com/.

Six Clever Ways to Win at Golf Matches

Professionally speaking, golf tournaments may involve stroke-play. But when amateurs play golf, they prefer a head-to-head match-play with a decisive match winner. Victory goes to the one with the greater number of holes. Winning a stroke-play and winning a match-play are two entirely different skills. Below are some tips with the help of which you can get better at winning a golf match.

Your Opponent Is The Course:

Realize that the true hurdle in the path of your winning is the golf-course and not your opponent. So focus on playing better according to the course. You have to mentally know and understand the course to score the greatest number of holes. This also helps you in getting less discouraged by the good scoring of your opponent. So during a match, you mind your own business and focus on your game more intensely than your opponent’s.

Play It Your Way:

This is very important. Realize that you only ought to play at your regular pace. You wouldn’t always have an opponent who plays at the same pace as you, so don’t lose your rhythm. Plus, if you’re an average player, do not expect that you will perform like a legend. It’s just that if you are not a five-handicap player or better than that, you shouldn’t expect you performance to be like a star’s.

Reveal Nothing:

You will thank me for this later. No matter how many holes you have scored at any point of the game, put on a poker face. You ought not to show you’re discouraged if you have missed a few holes. Neither should you get elated at the fact that you’re winning. If you’re too careless while victory is right in your reach, you might end up turning the whole game into a disaster. So always stay steady and stable.

Maintain The Pace Since Beginning:

I could give you a million reasons for not staying lazy in the beginning of golf. People think that there are a lot of holes left and there’s time. This reasoning does not justify a poor game that you might be playing in the beginning. And in a match play, each hole counts. So adhere to maintaining your pace since the beginning and aim at scoring holes right away because it builds a momentum for the game.

Never Give Up:

Keep in mind that even the best players have had to face failure and the history is full of such anecdotes. If you just refuse to give up, no matter how confident and amazing your opponent is at their golf-skills they won’t remain unnerved at seeing that you’re not cracking. Just play until the end, give it your best and do not mentally give up ever.

Don’t Get Too Excited:

Just like getting discouraged can have a bad effect on the gameplay because you quit striving, getting too excited over the fact that your game is going good may as well lead you to a terribly disappointing end of the game.

Enjoy the game, and stay confident. Ultimately you want to have fun, unless you’re a professional, so don’t get too worried about getting everything perfect. Sport some nice gear, and flaunt your skills. You’ll be amazed to learn what you’re capable of.

Author Bio:

Mathew is a sports coach and a golf expert. He loves playing golf and believes it is the king of all sports. He regularly posts at http://hittingthegolfball.com//.

How to Chip from Thick Rough Around the Green

So you’ve hit a couple good shots a long par four and you’re just a few yards off the green. You’re thinking easy par until you get to the ball and realize there’s a problem: your ball is sitting at the bottom of five inches of lush bluegrass. With your spirits diminished you proceed to hack the shot 30 feet and past the hole and in your upset mental state, three putt for a double bogey. Welcome to the wonderful world of golf! There is good news; it doesn’t have to be this hard. Shots from thick rough around the greens are difficult but if you use the correct technique they can be manageable. Here are four things you can do to have more success when chipping from thick rough:
Judge the Lie
Not all thick lies are created equal. There are different types of grasses and levels of thicknesses. When judging a lie the things you are looking for are how thick is the grass, how far down in the grass is the ball sitting, and what’s behind the ball. The thicker the grass the more force will be required to extract the ball. A ball sitting at the bottom of the rough will require a steeper swing than a ball sitting up in the rough. If there is a thick clump of grass behind the ball, you’ll have to hit the ball harder than a cleaner lie. A great way to judge the lie is to place your club a few inches behind the ball (not close enough to move the ball). Feel how thick the grass behind the ball is, then take a few practice swings near the ball to feel the resistance of the grass. Once you have a good idea of the lie you can better judge the shot.
Use More Loft
Hitting good chip shots out of thick grass requires clubhead speed and loft. Because of this, using a lower lofted club such as an seven iron doesn’t work very well. A lower lofted club usually results in shots that come out left, too fast, or even don’t come out of the grass at all. If the lie is decent (ie: sitting up in the grass) an eight or nine iron will work. Otherwise stick to a sand wedge or something similar. We will make a few adjustments in the setup and swing that will allow you to hit the ball lower with this club.
Setup for Success
The goal of the swing when chipping from thick rough is to drive the clubhead down and through the grass. In order to do this successfully there a few changes we need to make with the setup. The first change is to open the face. The reason is that the thick rough will slow down the momentum of the clubhead. When that happens the clubface closes making it easy to hit easy to hit the ball low and left. Slightly opening the face accounts for the clubface closing at impact. After opening the clubface make your grip pressure firmer than normal. This will also help prevent the clubface from closing through impact. The last two setup adjustments are to position the golf ball 2-3 inches back of the center of your stance and to put more weight than normal on your front foot (ie: 70%). Both of these things aid in steepening the swing, which helps to drive to golf club down and through the thick grass.
Steepen the Swing

So you’ve judged the lie, picked the correct club, and adjusted your setup. Now it’s time to hit the shot. The thing to remember when chipping from thick rough is that the swing needs to be steep. It has has to come in at an angle so that it hits the least amount of grass possible before hitting the ball. If you “pick” or “scoop” your shots around the green, playing from long grass will be next to impossible without making adjustments. As you start the backswing feel your wrists hinging upwards so the golf club works up and away from you. If your club goes inside or behind you on the backswing, you’re going to catch too much grass on the downswing. Take a few practice swings and get the feel for the wrist hinge and the club working up. Once you’ve got a feel for the backswing you can start to work on the bottom of the swing. At impact you want to feel the clubhead get down in the grass. It’s like a chopping motion with the clubhead working up and then abruptly down. You should feel the bottom of the golf club contacting the ground. If you try to “scoop” this shot you won’t have much success. Lastly there is not much follow through with this shot. Between the golf club hitting the thick grass and the golf club contacting the ground, a lot of the club’s momentum will be lost. You should not try to slow the swing down to shorten the follow through. Just let it happen naturally. The motion of leading with the hands, the grass, and the ground will do this for you. To summarize, when chipping from thick rough you need to: judge the lie, use a club with more loft, setup for a steeper swing, and play the shot with a steep motion down into the grass. If you do this you will have more success and get more shots up and down.

Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com/.

Learn to Hit Your Chip Shots Solid from Tight Lies

There aren’t too many shots in golf that get even the best players a little nervous. Maybe the long bunker shot. Maybe the island green 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. But the chip shot off of tight grass is one that falls in that category. It doesn’t seem like it should be that difficult but even the slightest mishit can result in disaster. You know the feeling when the ball is sitting down on tight grass. You’re trying to figure out how to get the club under the ball and what usually happens is you dig the club into the ground and chunk the shot, or catch the ball thin and watch it shoot across the green. The issue is that there just isn’t much room for error. With the ball sitting in the rough or even on slightly taller fairway grass, it’s easy to get the ball in the air. When we set the club down behind the ball on tight grass, we’re just not sure what to do. The good news is that it can be done and it’s actually not as tough as you would think. You just need to change the way you approach the shot. Here are some tips to make quick work of tight lies around the greens:
Keep the Club from Digging
The problem most golfers have with tight lies around the green is that they tend to dig the club into the turf. When the club digs it usually hits behind the ball and leads to a chunked shot. The reason golfers dig the club into the turf comes from years of being told to “hit down on the ball”. You’ve heard it from good players, teachers, and announcers on TV. “The tighter the lie, the more you need to hit down to make solid contact”. However, if you watch a professional golfer hit a chip or pitch from tight grass you won’t see a violent downward strike with a divot being taken. You’ll see a smooth, neutral swing where the club brushes the grass and makes solid contact with the ball. So the key is to keep the club from digging. Let’s look at a few things you can do to keep from digging:
Setup Neutral
If you adjust the setup to be more neutral, you will reduce the tendency to dig. This means having the ball positioned even with the center of your body. A ball positioned too far back can cause digging. This also means only setting your hands slightly ahead of the golf ball. A lot of golfers want to use a big forward press. This causes the club to dig as well. A neutral setup equals a neutral swing.
Less Wrist Hinge
This is a big part of avoiding the dig. The more you hinge your wrists on the backswing the steeper the swing becomes. The steeper the swing becomes the more the club wants to dig in the turf. As we know the more the club digs the better chance we have of mishitting the shot. Practice making chip shot swings using less wrist action. Instead of feeling like the hands and wrists move the club away, feel like the shoulder and arms move the club away with the hands being more neutral. The reduced wrist hinge you get from this technique will keep the club from digging.
Use the Bounce
Bounce is a mystery to a lot of golfers. Basically it’s how much the trailing edge of the sole of a wedge sits below the leading edge. Almost every wedge has some degree of bounce (if yours has zero, get a new wedge). The purpose of the bounce is to keep the club from digging. The problem is when you hit down too much and lean the shaft forward, the bounce is neutralized and the leading edge hit and digs into the ground first. To avoid this take some swings and feel the bottom of the wedge bumping or scraping the turf. If you do it correctly you’ll feel the club hit the turf and then bounce off. If you lean the shaft forward too much you’ll feel the leading wedge dig into the turf. The great thing about using the bounce is that it makes the club more forgiving. You can actually hit behind the golf ball and still hit a good shot because the club doesn’t dig. Shots from tight grass around the greens don’t have to be that tough. If you can keep the club from digging you’ll have much more success.
Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com/.

Want to Stop Chunking Chip Shots? Here’s How

Does this sound familiar? After 2 good shots a par 5 you’re next to the green and looking good to make birdie. You then proceed to chunk your next shot and make bogey. So frustrating! It’s easy to have your golf game undone by poor shots around the green and in my opinion there is nothing worse than hitting a shot fat. In an effort to eliminate this let’s look at a few reasons you hit behind the ball and how to correct them.
Ball is too far back in your stance
This is a common issue with middle handicap golfers and it usually arises from a misconception. Watching golf on TV we often hear commentators say that a player is playing a chip shot off their back foot. We then watch the player and it looks like the ball is off their back foot. It seems straightforward but is misleading for 2 reasons: The first is that the camera angle is not always good on TV. If the camera is not positioned directly facing the golfer, you’ll get a skewed perspective of where the ball is positioned. The second and most important reason is this. Imagine a player setup to a chip shot with a square stance and the ball positioned in the middle of his feet. Now imagine that player slightly opening his stance by turning his feet to the left (95% of good players do this). Without moving his body or ball (just the alignment of his feet) the golf ball now appears to be positioned even with his back foot. What happens now is middle handicap golfers take this “back foot” info and play their ball way back in their stance. This results in a very steep swing, the player chopping down on the ball, very low shots, and often times the leading edge hitting the ground before the ball. Even if you do make solid contact you will feel the club dig into the ground. A better way to think about ball position is in relation to your body. Use a reference point such as the zipper or belt buckle. This provides a center point of the body that will not move when you change your foot position. When you setup for a chip shot position the ball even with the zipper or belt buckle. By positioning the golf ball in the center of the body you will make contact slightly on the downswing and the club will be less inclined to dig. This leads to more consistent contact and better control.
Trying to hit down too much

As golfers we’ve heard it over and over again: you have to hit down on the ball. This phrase on its own is not a bad thing as good chippers and pitchers do hit down on the golf ball. The place where this causes trouble for most golfers is they don’t know exactly what it means or they overdo it. When good golfers hit a chip or pitch shot they feel the bottom of their golf club scrape or thump the ground. You will rarely see a good player take a divot or dig their club into the ground on short shots. However, many middle handicap golfers, in an effort to “hit down” on the ball, dig their club into the ground. When this happens the margin for error is very low. Contact has to be almost perfect. If the leading edge of the club hits just behind the ball it will dig and shot will be chucked. A better way is to feel the bottom of the club thumping the ground. The goal is avoid taking a divot. If you do this and start feeling the ground your margin for error will be much higher. If fact, if you keep the club from digging you can hit slightly behind the ball and still hit a good shot. To recap, if you want to put an end to chunked short shots you have to put an end to digging. Make sure your ball position is centered and stop trying to hit down so much. You’ll see better results around the greens.

Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com/.

An Easier Way to Play the Flop Shot

You watch plenty of golf on TV. I’m sure you’ve seen and been amazed by players like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods hitting those full swing, open face, super high flop shots. They look awesome and the results are usually amazing for those guys. Now let’s think about your golf game. You’ve short sided yourself, there isn’t much green to work with, and you’ve got a bunker between you and the hole. So you think you’ll try a flop shot like the pros on TV hit. There’s one problem; you don’t have the same amount of talent as they do. You probably see very mixed results. One time you chunk the shot in the bunker. The next you catch it a little thin and hit it over the green. You may see a few decent shots but not on the consistent basis to have confidence in what you’re doing. The good news is that there is a better way to hit this shot. A more consistent, easier way that doesn’t require as much timing or hand action. Here is how to hit the flop shot with better results:
A More Conservative Setup
The typical setup for a flop shot would consist of a wide stance, a very open stance, a very open clubface, the ball well forward, and a sitting or squatting motion with the body. A better way, a more conservative way to setup is as follows: • Stance slightly wider than shoulder width • Stance slightly open to the target • Weight evenly distributed over the feet • Club slightly open to the target • Ball positioned even with the left armpit This is a setup that will make it easier to hit solid shots and control your distance.
Don’t Make a Huge Swing
The reason you see tour players make a huge swing with flop shots is that the harder you hit a ball, the higher it can potentially go. The other side of this coin is that the harder you hit a ball, the higher the chances of a mishit become. A better way to go is to make only as much swing as you need to move the ball the correct distance. There’s no magic answer to how big of a swing produces a certain distance shot, but you definitely don’t need a huge swing around the greens. Experiment with some medium sized swings and get a feel for how far the shot travels using your new setup. You’ll see that with a more reasonable swing, the chances of good contact become much higher.
There’s No Need to Flip the Wrists

You may see a pro flipping their wrists past the ball when hitting the flop shot. This works for them because they have really good timing and it helps to add loft to the club by sliding it under the ball. This should be a big no-no for you because it raises the difficulty level to a 10. If you’re trying to flip your wrists and slide the club under the ball you are going to see a lot of mis-hits. It’s also going to be really difficult to judge how far the ball travels. A better way is to have the feeling of the hands slightly leading the clubhead at impact and the bottom of your wedge thumping the ground. By leading with your hands you will ensure that the clubface stays open through impact. It’s this open clubface that produces the height on the shot. Feeling the bottom of the wedge thump the ground helps with solid contact. It’s solid contact that makes it much easier to control how far the ball travels. To recap, if you want a simpler way to hit the flop shot use a more conservative setup, make a smaller swing, and let the hands lead the clubhead through impact. The will produce the results you are looking for on a much more consistent basis.

Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com/.