FLOP SHOTThe Flop Shot has more potential for embarrassing you than virtually any other shot in golf. (With the exception of the first tee of course.)
How many skulls over the green, or "fluffs" into the front bunker have you had trying to pull this shot off? Probably too many to count. Well, we are about to give you "the manual" on how to hit the flop shot, and with a little practice you'll find this one almost as easy to pull off as the "simple bunker shot".
The object of the flop shot of course is to fly the ball relatively high in relation to distance traveled, and then land softly on the green. It is usually used when the line to the hole is protected by a bunker, or whenever the pin is tucked close to the edge with little room for a standard pitch and subsequent roll.
The stance for the flop shot is very similar if not exactly the same as the green side bunker shot. Take an open stance with an open club face. (the face pointing both at the sky and in the direction of the hole, not in line with your feet which are open). Play the ball off your front big toe. I like a fairly wide stance for these shots to quiet the legs a bit, since the swing for this shot is mostly in the arms and shoulders with quiet legs.
The swing for this shot is rather long in relation to the distance the ball needs to travel. Since you are sliding the club under the ball, similar to the bunker shot, it will naturally fly more "up" than "out".
Cock your wrist fully and early in a nice long, steep, back swing. (1/2 to 3/4 back swing). Swing along the line of your feet (outside in), and accelerate through the shot sliding the open club face under the ball. (accelerate SMOOTHLY) Just like with the short bunker shot the key here is to accelerate through the ball and follow through! If you quit or punch at this shot you'll leave it way short or hit it low and hot. You'll get extra height out of this shot by not releasing the hands through impact. (keeping the clubface open, again just like with the short bunker shot.)
1. Use your favorite, well lofted club. A sand or lob wedge works well.
2. Aim slightly behind the ball. Not as much as with a bunker shot, just slightly behind it so you're sure to slide under the ball first.
2. Don't attempt this shot from a tight lie. This one is for decent lies or better! From a tight lie you'll almost surely bounce off the ground and into the ball, sculling the shot.
3. If you try this from deep rough and the ball is sitting down a bit, remember to keep firm wrists and a firm grip well past impact. The rough will tend to close the club face and slow your club head speed, both deadly on this shot. So be sure to accelerate hard and keep grip pressure firm! (Firm wrists are not just for out of the rough by the way. You don't want to flip at this shot ever. Firm wrists well past impact from any lie.)
4. Practice this shot in the back yard until you're comfortable enough to use it on the course. This is not one you want to "try out" on that tricky island green hole.
It takes a little practice to get the feel for this shot, but there's really no excuse for not dropping a few balls somewhere and working on it. Very little room is required. (unless you skull one of course...but who ever does that?)
5. Make this shot a usual part of your "pre-practice" routine. Before you head to the range or to play drop some balls in the yard and practice just your flop shots. It's great for your hand eye coordination and to loosen your hands up. Make it fun! Practice some flops into a bucket, the hammock, or even the birdbath! See how short a distance you can flop one. It will help your timing and in turn your whole game out.
6. This shot is very simliar to the short bunker shot. With some very minor adjustments you can turn your flop shot swing into your bunker shot swing and vice versa. See "Greenside bunker shot made easy".
You are now officially armed and dangerous with the Flop Shot in your arsenal.
Man, I'm glad I don't have to play you for money.