The high flop shot or lob shot is definitely a crowd pleaser, but it’s also a high risk shot that will usually cause more harm than good if it is not properly executed. You’ll need to evaluate your options and situation to determine if the shot, situation, and outcome will be beneficial.
To execute this particularly difficult shot, you must envision how the club and ball react at impact. The club should be perpendicular to the ground at impact, if not slightly leaning away from the target. The club face will be open and the leading edge should be pointed to the target, which will allow for maximum loft to produce a high, soft landing shot that should sit shortly after landing. This type of shot is perfect for tight pins, areas with very little green to work with, trying to hit a specific landing area with minimal roll, or having to maneuver over an obstacle.
Stance and Clubface
To execute this shot, two factors must work together in unison. The stance and the clubface will have a direct impact on one another. Depending on the severity of the flop, you’ll need to open the clubface to achieve an amount of loft that will carry to the intended landing area and/or reach the required height. As you open the clubface at address, it will point farther right depending on how much loft you add. You’ll compensate for the open clubface by opening the stance and body (pointing left of the target – right handed players) until the clubface is pointed toward your intended landing area. Your stance should feel stable enough to make a full swing, but also serve as a brace to enable the weight to stay around a 50/50 or a 60/40 distribution.
A misconception most players fall into is that you’ll swing the club toward the target. The truth is that the hands, arms, and club must follow the path of the stance and body (blue line above) to allow for the open clubface with added loft to produce the intended flight line. Keep it simple during the take away and swing just like any other shot. You’ll feel a slight forearm rotation as the clubface will still need to open and close back to the address position, and not just picking the club up and throwing it at the golf ball.
The one aspect of the flop shot that separates itself from other shots is the release of the retained angle in the backswing. As the club moves away from the ball, you should feel the butt of the club point to the ball a little quicker than normal, as we are trying to create and release the angle to produce speed and added loft. During the downswing, you should feel like the angle made by the right wrist released early so that the club is perpendicular to the ground, or actually leaning away from the target at impact.
The finish is critical to the distance and height of the flop shot. At impact, you want to feel that the golf club remains open, the right forearm does not pass the left, or that the toe does not turn over (all 3 do the same thing). To achieve this, imagine that you are trying to balance a glass on the face of your wedge just after impact, and you don’t want to drop it or spill anything. Keep this feeling all the way up to a high finish to control speed and trajectory.
The big key to pulling off the flop shot is rhythm. The number one issue we face is the dreaded deceleration. Since it’s a short shot with a long swing, we unconsciously slow down at impact, trying to match the clubhead speed with the distance. To execute, we must maintain a constant acceleration or rhythm. During the rehearsal, you want to maintain technique, but feel as though the swing is soft with rhythmic acceleration and light grip pressure.
To execute this shot precisely it requires a few basics to become “comfortable” with this particular shot. The flop shotshould be a last resort shot, due to the difficulty level, small landing area, and risk. Visualize the shot, trajectory, landing, result, and the feel you are trying to achieve. Try to stick to the lie, landing area, and target as focal points during preparation.
In practice, consider hitting only a few shots at different lengths. The goal is trying to look at a target and develop a game plan for the trajectory, landing area, and target instead of potential trouble. Because not every shot will be the same on the course, consider trying to put yourself in as many different situations as possible to develop the unconscious skill of becoming target and result oriented.
1. Stance and Clubface – These two must work together
2. Swing – Follow the pat of your stance
3. Finish – Visualize balancing a glass on the face
4. Rhythm – Don’t decelerate
If you need more help with your game email our PGA Professionals, or check out these other instructional articles:
Become A Master Pitcher: 3 Tips
3 Keys to Shaping the Golf Ball Any Way You Want
4 Easy Steps to Making Every Short Putt
Aggressive of Safe? Determining the Right Play
3 Simple Chipping Tecnhiques for Precision and Accuracy