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 SetupThe 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 SwingThe 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.