Flop Shots: 7 Steps To Hit A Beautiful Flop Shot

When you watch a professional golfer or a scratch player you will notice they have a bunch of different shots at their disposal. They truly know how to control their golf ball.

When needed, they can hit a draw, a fade, a stinger, or even a punch-out from the woods. Our favourite “advanced” shot is the flop shot.

There is something amazing about seeing a big swing for a short shot. As the golf saying goes, a well-executed flop shot lands on the green like a “butterfly with sore feet”.

The flop allows you to escape from the worst situations on the course. You can turn a double bogey into a great par save.

The flop shot is fun to hit and is magical when done correctly, but there is a risk when you decide to try it.

It is important you know what you doing before trying a flop shot on the course – and we’re here to help you learn this shot and impress your golfing buddies

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • What is a flop shot?
  • Who is best at hitting them?
  • 7 tips for hitting the perfect flop.
  • When to use your flop shot: risk vs reward

Let’s get into it!

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What Is A Flop Shot?

Before we learn how to hit a flop shot, let’s spend a few moments defining this unique way to hit the golf ball.

It is part of your short game. The flop is a type of chip. You will use it around the green to attempt to get up and down.

A flop shot makes the ball go very high, very quickly and puts a spin on it, so it can land softly on the green.

There are two primary reasons you would use a flop shot. First, you need the ball to go over an obstacle (a sand trap) and stop quickly once it lands on the green.

The second situation would involve a slope and/or fast greens. A flop shot is the fastest way to stop the ball once it lands.

Keeping all of this in mind, a flop shot is a chip that goes high in the air, lands softly, and stops quickly on the putting surface.

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Who Is The Best At Hitting The Flop Shot?

One great way to learn a new golf shot is to watch it being executed. Phil Mickelson is the PGA tour professional best known for hitting flops.

Phil has used this shot to save countless strokes during his career. Frankly, he loves to show it off!

While he has never done it in a tournament, he even brags that given the right uphill lie, he can hit a flop shot that goes backwards (over this head).

More recently, Mickelson has hit a flop over NBA-star Steph Curry.

Do you need some evidence of the magic of the flop shot? Take a look at a video of Phil’s best!

Now that you have seen what it can do, it is time to learn how to hit a flop.

7 Tips To Hitting A Perfect Flop Shot

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#1: Pick The Correct Club

To be a great craftsman you need the right tool. In order to hit a great flop shot, you need to select the correct stick from your bag.

Pretty simple choice. You want as much loft as possible. For most golfers, this will be a sand wedge or a lob wedge.

Related Article: The Complete Golf Club Loft Guide

A standard sand wedge has 56 degrees of loft and a lob wedge has 60 degrees. Over the last 10 years, golf manufacturers have started making wedges with 62 or 64 degrees of loft.

These “super lob wedges” do make hitting a flop easier, but it may mean removing a different club from your bag. USGA Rules of Golf state you can only have 14 clubs.

Up to you if you want to add this type of club to your collection. You can execute a flop shot with a regular sand or lob wedge.

#2: Get Wide Open

To hit a great flop you need to get the golf ball up. You want as much loft as possible on the club.

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With this in mind, you need to get everything open. First, make sure you use an open stance. You want your feet and upper body pointing to the left of your target.

Second, you need to open up the club. The more the better. This will add loft to your club and ensure the ball gets up quickly.

Your setup position for a flop shot is very similar to hitting a shot from a greenside bunker.

Related: 5 Tricks To Hit Perfect Bunker Shots: Escape From The Traps

#3: The Golf Ball Should Be Forward

Ball position is important when chipping the ball around the green. Most chip shots should be played from the middle or back of your stance.

A flop shot is a unique chip and requires a unique ball position.

The ball should be forward of the middle of your stance. If you’re trying to hit an extreme flop shot, you may even want it near your front foot (left foot for right-handed players).

Moving the ball forward in your stance is another way to help the ball quickly get in the air.

#4: Longer Swing With Wrist Action

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A normal chip doesn’t require much of a swing – your standard chipping motion is very similar to a long putting stroke.

You also don’t want much wrist action on a normal chip shot. Too much wrist can lead to the dreaded yips.

Once again, the flop shot is special. You want to take a longer swing than normal and you need the wrist action to get the ball into the air.

Similar to a sand shot, you want to set your wrist early in your backswing and release it at impact.

One of the things that make flop shots so challenging to master is the timing required. A longer swing with more wrist engagement takes practice.

#5: You Need To Add Zip To The Impact Zone

What is required to get the ball to land softly? The answer is spin.

How do you add spin to the golf ball? The answer is speed.

In order to hit a “Mickelson style” flop shot, you need to zip the club under the ball with speed. The club must be accelerating at impact.

A flop shot without acceleration is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you add zip!

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#6: Trust It

The flop shot is a difficult play. It requires precision, execution and you must trust it. You must have confidence in your ability to pull it off.

It requires you to aim left, open your face, make a big swing, and accelerate. With the intention of hitting the ball only a short distance.

Any doubt in your mind can ruin the shot. Once you decide to hit a flop shot you need to commit and hit. No second-guessing.

In other words, playing an epic flop shot is not for the faint of heart. It requires more courage than any other shot you will play on the course.

Your reward for demonstrating bravery? An amazing par save that might just help you win that golf bet against your buddy.

#7: Practice The Flop Before Trying On The Course

Please don’t finish this article, rush out to the course, and start hitting flop shots on every hole. This is a skill that needs to be honed in the practice area.

Try some different length flop shots. How high can you hit the golf ball? How soft is it landing on the green?

Do you have control over how far it flies or do you hit some wild ones?

Try hitting some flop shots from tighter lies (fairway) and from high grass. Learn how to hit a flop shot without consequences.

Once you can do it fairly consistently, you can break it out during your next round.

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When To Use Your Flop Shot – Risk vs. Reward

The flop shot is not something you want to use all the time. To be honest, when you are hitting the ball well it should never be required.

We would classify it as a “recovery” shot. It is needed when you find yourself in a tough spot and need to escape from a difficult situation.

The flop shot can be rewarding and save you strokes, but there are risks associated with it.

You are making a large swing to hit the ball a short distance. If you don’t execute properly it can cost you strokes.

The flop shot requires precision. It is quite easy to hit the shot thin or fat. A thin one can fly out of bounds and a fat one can end up in even a worse spot than you started.

Practice it. Have confidence in it, but only bring it out when absolutely necessary. If a simpler shot will get the job done, there is no reason to try and hit a flop shot.

Think of the flop shot like a fire extinguisher. You never want to have to use it, but it is good to have if you ever need it.

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You’ve Got The Flop – What’s Next?

Is it time to establish your golf handicap? Maybe figure out how to get rid of your slice?

Golf is a lifetime pursuit. You can always get better. You can always learn new ways to enjoy the game. Good luck and play well.

Photo of author
Ray has been playing golf for 35+ years, including being part of his High School and College golf teams. While he still enjoys playing in amateur tournaments, Ray now focuses on growing the game of golf through teaching and coaching. He has two sons that both play golf competitively and loves spending time watching them compete. Ray continues to play in local amateur golf events and currently has a +1 handicap.

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