The game of golf has no shortage of challenges. Some of those challenges include learning how to hit certain types of shots, and when.
You are here because you want to know how to hit a flop shot, and we will cover everything you need so you can add this par-saving shot to your arsenal.
Let’s do it!
Table of Contents
What is a Flop Shot
For starters, let’s talk about what this shot is all about.
Also known as a lob shot, the flop shot is a shot in golf that utilizes the angle of a high-lofted club to create maximum height on a shot, without hitting the ball very far in distance.
The goal is to send the ball almost straight up and have it come straight down at its intended target, with very little rollout.
This shot is used by golfers that need a steep ascending shot to get over an obstacle (trap, bush, bar cart 😉, or anything really…) ,or for short shots that need to stop with little to no roll.
In simple terms, it’s a high arching shot that doesn’t need to travel very far. But don’t let that fool you, you still have to get that clubhead moving fast!
Let’s say you are near the green, but there is a sand trap between you and the green. A typical chip shot won’t clear the sand so you need to send the ball up high to clear the trap, then land softly so it doesn’t roll off the green.
This is the type of situation when having a flop shot is crucial to your success.
Awesome, let’s move on!
Flop Shot vs Pitch Shot & Chip Shots – What’s The Difference?
There are some significant differences in flop shots and pitch/chip shots. Since you want to learn HOW to hit a proper flopper 😉 — it’s important that you know the difference between the shots.
Typically, you won’t attempt a flop shot from outside of 30 yards. The loft of the club is so great that it just becomes very difficult to get any more distance on the shot than that. Whereas a pitch shot is normally in the range of 50 yards and in, and chip shots around 10 yards and in, often with low trajectories (ie – bump and run).
Another difference in these shots would be club selection. Flop shots require the highest lofted clubs you have, while pitch shots might be slightly lower, and chip shots usually being in the 8i, 9i, or PW range.
The main reason you would choose to hit a flop shot as opposed to a pitch or chip is that an obstacle lies between your ball and the pin, or you are short-sided and don’t have a lot of room to work with.
A flop shot is the more difficult shot of the bunch, but it is a true par saver and can bail you out of some dicey spots on the course.
Let’s continue on!
Why Flop Shots are Important
Great golfers have the ability to get up and down and save par from awkward positions. Low handicappers (read about handicaps here) have a wide array of shots in their arsenal and can use them all to avoid big numbers.
Having these types of shots in your bag gives you the best chance to stave off disaster and keep the scores low on your cards.
Paige Spiranic Says:
“The most highly requested shot, the flop shot! This is my favorite shot to hit in golf and is actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it!”
How to Hit a Flop Shot
Check the Lie of the Ball
One thing you need to know about flop shots is that they require a certain type of lie to even attempt.
To execute the shot, you want to look for just the right lie. Not too fluffy, not too tight. Identifying this lie is something you will learn with practice.
If your lie is too tight or lying on hard-pan, you are more likely to have the club bounce off the ground, making it impossible to get underneath, resulting in a bladed or skulled shot.
On the flip side, if the lie is too fluffy the ball tends to hit too high up on the clubface which can lead to chunky strikes.
Truth be told, flop shots are shots you only want to attempt when you need to. Yes, it’s important to have it in your bag but the reality is that your best bet is not needing to use it during your round.
Visualize the Shot
Once you have checked your lie and surveyed the green to determine your optimal landing spot, it’s time to visualize the shot. This is when it pays to have a pre-shot routine in place.
In golf, it’s critical to know the exact swing you want to put into action before addressing the ball. Great golf shots start before the swing ever starts, so visualize your shot in as much detail as you can, and remember to AIM SMALL.
Set Your Stance
To set yourself up for success you need to understand what type of stance you need to execute the shot, and how it differs from other types of shots like pitches or chips.
For flop shots you will want to take a wide stance for a few reasons:
- You take a big swing which requires a wide, stable stance
- It will prevent you from drifting during your swing
Here are some things you need to consider when setting up to hit that perfect flop:
Hitting the shot:
- Reach for the highest lofted club in your bag. For me, this is my 60-degree wedge, but flop shots are typically struck with anything ranging from 58-62 degrees loft.
- To maximize the loft on this shot you need to open up the clubface even more than the natural loft allows. This will require you to re-align the position of your feet to a more open stance. Open your stance up more and more as you open the clubface more and more. You will need to find your sweet spot when it comes to alignment here, so practice this shot on your own time so you feel confident taking it onto the course.
Essentially, the clubface will be set at your target but your feet will be aligned well left.
For this shot, you will want to play the ball in the middle of your stance, or even slightly forward. Do not set this shot up with the ball back in your stance, it will create a descending blow and you will not be able to get the desired height on the shot.
Shifting Your Weight
There are a lot of differing opinions on weight transfer on flop shots. Most golfers aim to have 70-80% of their weight favoring their lead leg when hitting this shot. This is to prevent hitting the ball fat or chunking the shot.
However, some golfers like to hang back a little bit because it can help to add loft to the shot. This can maximize the height and “softness” of the shot.
Play around with this and find YOUR comfort zone. No two golf swings are alike so take each bit of advice with a grain of salt and use it to guide you.
But in the end, you have to go with the swing that you feel comfortable with when in that situation.
For more information on weight transfer in the golf swing go check out the post below:
The goal of a flop shot is maximum height while only traveling a short distance. The shot is meant to land softly and limit rollout. That said, wrist position is a big factor when properly executing the swing.
On the takeaway, you want to feel like your knuckles are pointed up to the sky, with a good amount of cupping in the opposite hand. For a right-hander, this would mean your right-hand knuckles are facing up and your left is doing some good hinging/cupping. Opposite for lefties.
Ideally, the clubface will end up pointing in the direction of your face as you come through the ball.
Pro Tip: Make sure you keep rotating your chest through the shot.
Hitting the Perfect Flop Shot
How to Master the Flop Shot
So far we have got everything covered when it comes to setting up for this shot. Now it’s time to go deeper.
Make sure you get those wrists hinged quickly on your takeaway, and try to keep the clubface open the whole time.
It’s important to know that a flop shot requires a pretty good swing and you absolutely cannot afford to be decelerating when hitting the ball. In general, the bigger/harder the swing, the higher this shot will go.
Remember that your weight should be forward, with the clubface open wide so you will need to take a pretty good rip at it to get the desired results.
Your swing path should follow along the line your feet are set to. This will require an outside-in swing path, where the face stays open and you get the clubface sliding underneath the ball as you get through.
Don’t forget to keep the chest rotating as you make this swing. Ideally, your chest is toward your target, with your follow-through held up real high.
Flop Shot From a Tight Lie
The margin for error when attempting a flop shot from a tight lie gets smaller. It becomes harder to slide the club under the ball, so it’s important to remember a few key things:
- Maintain your speed. It’s critical to be accelerating through the shot, so you will have to commit to the shot fully.
- Ease up on the grip to allow the hands the freedom they need to hinge properly.
- ROTATE! Get your upper body rotating through the swing so you are not using all hands.
Many are the same as typical tips for this shot. They just become more critical when you are dealing with a tight lie.
Just like other shots, just take some time to practice this shot before taking it to the course for a round that matters.
Flop Shot Final Thoughts
A flop shot is a great go-to shot when you have to take it high without traveling a great distance. It comes up quite often and you will save some strokes by having the ability to pull it off.
It’s not the easiest shot to master, but if you take the information you read here and put in some time practicing you will have it ready to use when you need it most.
Even if you do master this shot, don’t try this at home! 😉
That’s a wrap!
Thanks for checking out this flop shot masterpiece 😊.
If you love the game and want to get better, arming yourself with score-saving shots like flops is key.
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To your golf success! 🏌️