Every golfer, even beginners, know that the game of golf is divided into two phases; namely- your long game and your short game. To master the game, it is necessary to be skillful at both of these phases.
The shots that need to be made at the short game require you to be extremely precise because this is the stage of golf where you’re either on the green itself or near to it. So, every shot you make is very crucial.
One of the most exciting shots made during the short game is the Flop Shot. This shot is a shot done to send the ball very high up in the air while covering a small amount of distance to cross over to the greens. It can be a very difficult or tricky shot to execute. However, if it’s done right, it can work wonders for your game.
When to Hit a Flop Shot
Since the flop shot is so difficult to hit, even for professional golfers, it is important to know when is the right time to resort to this. Otherwise, if you do it inaccurately or if you waver in making the shot, it can end up creating a more difficult position for you to get out.
Generally, a flop shot’s main purpose is to be overcoming any hazard that might be between you and the pin, that is, the green area. To do so, you need to be able to send the ball high above the ground and the hazard itself. It should have minimal spin so that on landing it doesn’t roll onto further distances.
There are certain situations in the game where using a flop shot is the most efficient way to handle the game. For example, sometimes you might end up in a spot where the greens are in a very tricky direction from your ball.
In this case, getting the ball through the air might be the only way to go forward with the game and for a shorter putt.
Likewise, it is important to remember that executing flop shots is very complicated; it might not be the best option for everyone. The situations where you probably should not opt for flop shots are:
- You might find that the lie you’re working on is difficult to make smooth shots on. For instance, the surface could be on a slope or very heavy. In such cases, it is better to go for any other shot that seems safer to you.
- You need to be confident that you can launch the ball into the air. If you feel like you have not had enough practice to hit a flop shot confidently, you should not give it a try in vain.
- Some player finds that using a spinning shot is easier compared to a flop shot. Therefore, if you’re in a situation where a spinning shot would work just as fine, you don’t need to do a flop.
- You need to be able to manage how you will be covering the course. Hence, before jumping to make a flop shot, determine how it is going to affect your ability to go forward afterward.
Even if a flop shot may seem very difficult to do, you shouldn’t shy away from it. With practice, you can figure out the mechanics of it and customize your swing accordingly. After that, once you’ve gained your confidence over it, just go for it!
Steps to Take to Hit a Flop Shot
There are several steps you can follow to master on flop shot. It may seem difficult but these steps will guide you to be on the right track.
Step 1: Visualize the Shot
Before you make a flop shot, it is important that you imagine what you want the ball to do exactly, or where you want it to go. To do so, you can imagine how you would have tossed the ball to get it where you want it to go.
Then, think about the speed at which you want to send the ball and how high it will reach for the force you are applying. You can toss a ball for better understanding while practicing too.
For a flop shot, you want the ball to roll less and reach higher so that it crosses a distance and instantly stops. In that sense, you need to consider the factor of your lie. Having grass under the ball is necessary to hit a flop shit.
This is because you have to get the club under the ball for this shot, and that is only possible on a grassy or fluffy surface; even there is a possibility of whiffing the entire shot. Therefore, depending on whether the lie is rough or tight, you must determine whether you can make the shot.
You could do a flop shot in the tightest of lies only if you can get the club under the ball. That is the main concern. Sometimes, you might not be able to make the shot even if you get under the ball.
Step 2: Choice of Club
A Flop shot is characterized by how high the loft is in the clubs or wedges used for such shots. Most golfers who are beginners do not usually own wedges with very high loft. However, for a smooth flop shot, you should invest in a high-lofted wedge.
The ideal angle of the loft for wedges should be 60 degrees or more. It is very important to maintain this loft because:
- The ball can easily roll off the green if you cannot shoot the ball high enough or with lesser spin, which is possible only with high loft.
- Nowadays, the pin is being tucked nearer the edge of the greens to protect the surface of the putt. In this regard, you need a shot through which the ball will fly high but land soft, which, once again, needs a higher loft.
Accordingly, to get higher pitches by putting lesser effort, try using the most top loft in your wedge. It can help to improve your game.
Step 3: Stance
It is important to be in the right stance for the shot. Some golfers have the idea that if you put your weight back, you can launch the ball in higher altitudes, but that is not true.
You need to be in an open and wide stance while putting your weight on your front foot. It is recommended that you put 60% of your entire weight on the front. If you’re playing on a tighter lie, the front foot is where your weight should be to get the club under the ball properly.
On the other hand, if the lie is fluffy, there is a possibility that you could position your club too low and ruin the shot. Therefore, center your weight in this case.
Your feet need to be spread apart as well. This is necessary because you need to make sure your lower body is quiet. Otherwise, you could do a mishit. You can add more loft to the club by lowering the shaft using the wide stance.
The ball needs to be positioned in the middle, or in the center of the stance. Make sure your clubface is open and position it in a direction that helps you aim a little leftwards from your actual target.
Your hands should create an angle with the shaft in such a way that you are leaning slightly forward. In this way, you can lead with your hands. Besides, it is important to use minimal pressure on your grip. If you grip the club too tightly, you might not be able to get the ball to stop and make it spin too much.
Step 4: Swing
It is important to create a swing that has a wide range. This is possible through producing a high loft within the swing. You have to make a swing longer and wider than normal. The swing should be long enough that it is proportional to the distance the ball needs to go.
The clubface should be kept open the entire time facing upwards. You should make sure that you do not bend your arms too much, especially when you are doing the backswing.
In this way, you can control the distance to be traveled by the ball or the height to be reached by it. Hence, it can make putting easier for you.
A wide stroke like this will enable you to let the club go with the flow. Once the club head is brought down, it can just deliver the shot if you follow-through with the same motion for the high loft.
It is significant to maintain the pace for the swing to go smoothly. This means that the backswing should be on the same tempo as the forward.
Your instinct might be to directly aim at the target you want the ball to reach. However, in the case of flop shots, it is important to aim slightly on the left of your target if you are a right-handed player. You have to let your body line with this direction for the swing to go at the same aim.
You might also want to try to do a huge swing. You must have seen professional golfers do it, right? On the contrary, that may not always be the best option because it leads to a higher possibility of mishits.
It is better to do a bigger swing only when you need it. So, depending on the distance you want the ball to travel, you can make it a huge as you want. If you’re closer to the greens, of course you should do a shorter swing for good contact.
In any case, the swing should not be abrupt or stiff. It needs to be long, smooth and full to maintain the loft you created. Once you’ve initiated it, let the swing go across your body with high power.
It may seem nerve-wracking, but remember that acceleration is the key and with practice, you can develop more trust and confidence in your swings.
Step 5: Executing the Shot
There are certain things to remember at every stage of executing the swing, such as-
There is a certain point during the swing back where you need to hinge your wrist. Doing it too soon or too late can ruin the shot. In this regard, you need to feel at which point the wrist needs to be hinged.
To maintain the timing, you might have to delay the hinge depending on the height you want to reach. It is safer to go for a quick hinge during short shots and a more delayed hinge in case of long shots.
You might be tempted to flip your wrist during this swing down just as you’ve seen many pros do it. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that professional golfers have perfected their timings with a lot of practice. It might not be the same case for you.
Flipping your wrist at the wrong timing can result in a mishit. Therefore, Instead of doing that at first, you should start by practicing without using your wrist. All you have to do is release the face of the club and let it do its work.
Otherwise, there is a high chance that you will lose control of the shot. The rotation that you need for the shot will come naturally from the way the swing moves.
It is essential to make sure that the club head or the wedge bottom touches the ground while remaining open. In this way, you can launch the ball higher.
The impact of hitting the ground will give you more control over how far you want the ball to go. So, for more consistent shots every time, practice in this way.
How you finish the shot is very important when it comes to flop shots. It is necessary to maintain as less moves as possible. Just make sure that the back of the hand is pointed upwards after hitting the ball, or left if you are right-handed and vice versa.
Ensure that the acceleration takes over the shot to where it should be. Lastly, finish the shot by keeping the club high.
Points to Remember
Before I take my leave, down below are some of the points that you should keep in mind regarding flop shots.
While on a Slop
Sometimes, you might be on a slope when trying to do a flop shot. That can make it difficult for you to decide how to go at it, but you can still execute it through proper stance and swing.
Your stance should be such that the slope angle matches your shoulders to make it seem like a flat lie. Downhill lies will be easier to work with using this stance. As long as your body is in line with the slope, you can do the shot the way you would have in general.
However, do remember that shots from such tricky angles may not result in a higher distance.
You might unknowingly move the ball position when you are attempting to open your stance. Try not to do that by ensuring that the area of the ball is off the left foot only after opening the position.
Posture is Important
It is very important to maintain your posture throughout the entire swing and shot. Any small deviation, a nervous quiver, a squeeze too tight, etc. can ruin all work. You just have to let the momentum of the shot do its thing.
The club itself will carry the shot. All you have to do is determine your swing speed based on the distance to cover.
Apart from that, you need to relax your arms and make sure that you push the energy upwards without ruining the body rotation. The entire stance works to help you to execute the shot as accurately as possible.
Sussessful Flot Shot
For a successful flop shot, it is important to form a rhythm to help you establish the motion you need to make the shot. To do so, you can do a few rehearsals with swings one after another to get the hang of it. This rhythm takes off the pressure of executing the perfect shot.
Practice Makes Perfect
Since the flop shot can be daunting to many golfers, it is crucial to practice and understand how exactly you can do it right. To do that, you can try using both regular pitch shots and flop shots when you’re in a situation that requires a flop shot.
Thus, you can decide which one is more reliable to reach your target, and you can slowly become more confident in how to make flop shots.
Try different aims while practicing a flop shot. Aim both left to the target and right and practice making the shot. It will give you a better idea of how to target the ball. The most significant thing is to be reckless and to let the club itself control how it wants to hit the ball.
A flop shot requires unique techniques that make it different from other shots. It is natural to feel like it is tough to execute. Professional golfers struggle with it at times as well. In that sense, instead of dreading it, try to commit to it.
Accordingly, confidence is very important in making a flop shot happen. Follow these guidelines and trust that you can make the swing because this is one of the shots that require you to determine how best to do it by figuring out how you “feel” about the swing.
Hence, the more you practice, the more you’ll understand how exactly to vary your techniques with the situations that require it. In this way, you can easily and consistently hit a flop shot with great results!