Fine-tuning the flop

In this week's golf column, Jennifer Greggain offers tips on how to execute a proper flop-shot.

Jennifer Greggain teaches golf to adults and juniors at the Chilliwack Golf Academy. She played professionally on tour for over 10 years, including 2 years on the LPGA. She was also named the 2010 CN Canadian Women’s Tour Low Teaching Pro of the Year.  She can be contacted at 604-798-9805, or at Jennifer@chilliwackgolf.com

 

In my column a few weeks ago, I addressed one of the shots I enjoy teaching the most, the classic chip and run shot. I received a lot of great feedback from this column, so I will now introduce a follow up to the chip and run shot, and discuss how to hit a high-lofted chip shot, AKA the ‘flop’ shot.

Before I begin a lesson on the flop shot, I walk the student to an area of the practice hole with little green to work with, requiring a high lofted shot with as little roll as possible. I then state boldly to the student, “You should not be here!”

Although students are surprised when I first say this, they quickly understand that we are talking about course strategy. One of the things great players have in common is that they don’t short-side themselves. If you put yourself into a situation where you need to hit a high-lofted flop shot, you have not used the entire green effectively.

Now, on to the lesson.

To successfully execute a flop shot, you must have the proper set up. Choose your highest lofted wedge, and ‘open’ the club face and your stance. If you don’t have at least a 56 degree sand wedge or lob wedge, now is the time to get one.

Set up with the golf ball in the middle or slightly forward of your stance, and shift your weight to 75 per cent on your front foot. This pre-shifting forward allows your swing to be slightly steeper, and easier to ‘trap’ the ball and hit high shots.

Now, unlike the chip and run shot, you will need to use your wrists.

Take your swing back primarily with your shoulders, but through impact let your hands ‘slice’ under the ball and let your wrists naturally release.

Be sure to still trap the ball in a downward motion, and avoid ‘scooping’ the ball up. To practice this, be sure to strike the ground in your practice swings, and not just sweep the top of the grass.

The hardest part to teach about the flop shot is ‘feel.’

You will want to keep your shoulders, body and hands completely relaxed to let your wrists naturally release.

If you are still having difficulty with the flop shot, I like to explain it with this simple analogy.

Imagine you are in a water balloon tossing contest with a partner.

As the game progresses, you step farther from one another.

You know that if you throw the ball too hard, the balloon will burst in your partner’s hands. If you don’t throw it far enough, it will break on the ground at their feet. You must lob the balloon in the air with a smooth, deliberate tempo and soft hands.

Try beginning your practice session by softly lobbing some golf balls in the air, with as little roll as possible. Then start hitting some chip shots with the same soft feel.

My bottom line advice on the flop shot is to completely commit to the shot.

The key is to remain assertive enough while still keeping a nice soft feel in your hands.

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