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Tagged "Flop Shots"


Hit a High, Soft Pitch Shot from Tight Grass

If you’ve ever played a golf course with tightly mown areas around the greens you know this shot. You’re ball is sitting a few feet below the level of the green, there isn’t any room to get the club under the ball, and you probably don’t have that much green to work with.

Most golfers are scared to death of this shot. So much that they grab the putter. This isn’t a bad play, as you’re chance of really screwing up is low. However, you’re just not going to be able to consistently get the ball as close as you would hitting in in the air.

Despite it being a tough shot, it’s not an impossible one. With a little practice and some know how, you can hit this shot more consistently. Here are a few pointers that will help you play the high, soft pitch from tight grass:

Use more Loft

As the name states, the goal of this shot is to hit it high and soft. In order to achieve this you must use a golf club that has a lot of loft. I would recommend using a 60 degree wedge. If you don’t have a 60 degree then use your 56. If you don’t have a club with at least 56 degrees of loft, get one ASAP. Otherwise this shot will be near impossible.

Open the Clubface

Opening the clubface is often thought of as something you do in the bunker or when trying to hit a high flop shot. Opening the clubface actually serves 2 important purposes. It adds loft to the club, which helps you hit it higher and it adds bounce to the club. Adding bounce is important because it keeps the club from digging, which helps you hit the shot more solid.

The important thing when opening the clubface is to open the face then grip the club. If you grip the first then open the face it will usually return to square at impact. This goes against the purpose in the first place.

Ball Position

Like the clubface, ball position is important because it affects how high and how solid you hit the shot. The further back you position the ball in your stance, the lower it go. Also, the further back you position the ball the more likely your club will dig. Neither of these are good for this shot.

For the best results with this shot, position the ball 2-4 inches ahead of the center of your body. Use a reference point such as the buttons on your shirt or belt buckle and get the ball slightly ahead of that. By doing this the club will have more loft when it hits the ball, and it will have more bounce which prevents the club from digging and makes solid contact easier.

Less Hinge, More Turn

The more you hinge your wrists on your backswing the steeper the club gets. The steeper the club gets the less loft it has and the less bounce it has. Both of these go against what we are trying to achieve on the shot.

Take a few practice swing and feel wrist action and more body turn. It will feel like a neutral swing where you hit down less. This allows you to maintain the loft on the golf club, which produces height, and maintain the bounce on the club, which keeps the club from digging.

Take no Divots

Good players don’t take divots around the greens. If you’re taking a divot it means you’re digging the leading edge of the club into the turf. This makes the margin for error low and solid contact very difficult.

If you’re using less hinge and more turn, you should start to see the divots go away. You’ll actually feel the bottom of the club thump the ground without digging. The great thing about this is that it increases your margin for error. You can actually hit behind the ball and hit a good shot (sounds weird but it works!).

Swing with Enough Speed

The thing to keep in mind playing this shot is that less force is being applied to the ball. You are hitting the shot with more loft and possibly even hitting slightly behind the ball. Both of these reduce how far the ball will travel, so to compensate you must hit the ball harder.

While you have to hit it harder, that doesn’t mean trying to swing the golf club faster. It means making a slightly bigger swing, keeping the same smooth tempo. The extra length of swing will produce enough extra power to move the ball the correct distance.

Don’t fear tight grass. Use these tips to change up your approach and with a little practice you’ll become more consistent with this shot.

Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com.

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An Easier Way to Play the Flop Shot

  You watch plenty of golf on TV. I’m sure you’ve seen and been amazed by players like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods hitting those full swing, open face, super high flop shots. They look awesome and the results are usually amazing for those guys. Now let’s think about your golf game. You’ve short sided yourself, there isn’t much green to work with, and you’ve got a bunker between you and the hole. So you think you’ll try a flop shot like the pros on TV hit. There’s one problem; you don’t have the same amount of talent as they do. You probably see very mixed results. One time you chunk the shot in the bunker. The next you catch it a little thin and hit it over the green. You may see a few decent shots but not on the consistent basis to have confidence in what you’re doing. The good news is that there is a better way to hit this shot. A more consistent, easier way that doesn’t require as much timing or hand action. Here is how to hit the flop shot with better results:

A More Conservative Setup

  The typical setup for a flop shot would consist of a wide stance, a very open stance, a very open clubface, the ball well forward, and a sitting or squatting motion with the body. A better way, a more conservative way to setup is as follows: • Stance slightly wider than shoulder width • Stance slightly open to the target • Weight evenly distributed over the feet • Club slightly open to the target • Ball positioned even with the left armpit This is a setup that will make it easier to hit solid shots and control your distance.

Don’t Make a Huge Swing

  The reason you see tour players make a huge swing with flop shots is that the harder you hit a ball, the higher it can potentially go. The other side of this coin is that the harder you hit a ball, the higher the chances of a mishit become. A better way to go is to make only as much swing as you need to move the ball the correct distance. There’s no magic answer to how big of a swing produces a certain distance shot, but you definitely don’t need a huge swing around the greens. Experiment with some medium sized swings and get a feel for how far the shot travels using your new setup. You’ll see that with a more reasonable swing, the chances of good contact become much higher.

There’s No Need to Flip the Wrists

  You may see a pro flipping their wrists past the ball when hitting the flop shot. This works for them because they have really good timing and it helps to add loft to the club by sliding it under the ball. This should be a big no-no for you because it raises the difficulty level to a 10. If you’re trying to flip your wrists and slide the club under the ball you are going to see a lot of mis-hits. It’s also going to be really difficult to judge how far the ball travels. A better way is to have the feeling of the hands slightly leading the clubhead at impact and the bottom of your wedge thumping the ground. By leading with your hands you will ensure that the clubface stays open through impact. It’s this open clubface that produces the height on the shot. Feeling the bottom of the wedge thump the ground helps with solid contact. It’s solid contact that makes it much easier to control how far the ball travels. To recap, if you want a simpler way to hit the flop shot use a more conservative setup, make a smaller swing, and let the hands lead the clubhead through impact. The will produce the results you are looking for on a much more consistent basis.    

Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com.

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