How to Hit a Flop Shot

01
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Start By Assessing Your Lie

Charlotta Sorenstam demonstrates the setup position for a lob shot
Courtesy of The Annika Academy

The flop shot (also known as a lob shot) is one of the most exciting shots displayed on the LPGA and PGA tours each and every week. An easy, graceful swing followed by the almost impossible flight of a ball that goes straight upward and then softly lands within inches of the cup.

Many amateurs, however, believe the flop shot is a daunting task, fraught with much more risk than reward and only to be attempted when any and all other options are explored and dismissed.

In reality, the flop shot is not that difficult and can be an effective tool when executed correctly.

The first thing to ask is, “Does my lie allow me to hit this shot?” In other words, is the ball sitting up in order to allow the clubhead to brush the turf under the ball, creating the desired shot height and distance?

02
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Setup and Takeaway

Charlotta Sorenstam demonstrating how to hit a lob shot in golf
Courtesy of The Annika Academy

Once you’ve decided the lie is appropriate for a flop shot, here is how you set up to the ball:

  • Grip: You’ll want to grip the club, which should be no less than a 56-degree sand wedge (a 60-degree lob wedge will work best), with an open clubface. This will increase both the loft of the club and its bounce.
  • Balance: Keep your balance on the balls of your feet; set approximately 60-percent of your weight on your leading leg.
  • Posture: Once you’ve established your balance, add a deeper knee bend than normal.
  • Ball Position: The ball should be set about 2-3 inches forward of center.
  • Aim and Direction: Position your upper body so it’s aligned to the target; then open your stance to allow for easier rotation of the upper body in the forward swing and follow through.

Swing the club back with a one-piece takeaway, meaning the shoulder turn and wrist hinge move in unison. Make sure to keep the club in front of your body and the clubface open. It’s important to note that the goal is to create a steep angle of attack, combined with high clubhead speed to promote maximum backspin and a soft, high ball flight.

03
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Beginning the Downswing

How to hit the flop shot in golf with Charlotta Sorenstam
Courtesy of The Annika Academy

Shoulders will begin the downswing followed by the arms and hands. Keep the wrists hinged so you feel as if the butt end of the grip is “falling” toward the ball, as opposed to the feeling of “pulling” the club down.

04
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Swinging Into Impact

Charlotta Sorenstam nears impact on a lob shot
Courtesy of The Annika Academy

The clubhead should travel along the path of the target line, remaining open throughout the swing. Let the clubhead brush the turf under the ball as you swing through impact.

05
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Releasing at Impact

Charlotta Sorenstam after impact when hitting a lob shot
Courtesy of The Annika Academy

At impact, the clubhead will release and pass your hands for the first time. Remember you do not want to turn your hands over, in an effort to “lift” the ball. The angle of the clubface, bounce on the club and clubhead speed will take care of the trajectory, spin and distance.

06
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Through to the Finish

The finish position when hitting a lob shot, demonstrated by Charlotta Sorenstam
Courtesy of The Annika Academy

Through to the finish of the flop shot, your upper body will be facing the target while the clubface remains open and the club parallel to your body. A good test of your finish is to make sure the hands are close to your bellybutton and the top end of the shaft almost hits the bill of your cap.

Practice makes perfect, but following these steps will have you pulling off magical up-and-downs in no time.

Charlotta Sorenstam is an LPGA Class ‘A’ teaching professional and the Director of Golf Operations at Orlando’s ANNIKA Academy. A long-time LPGA player, she won the tour’s Standard Register Ping event in 2000 and played in the 1998 Solheim Cup for Team Europe. She was also an All-American at the University of Texas and the 1993 NCAA individual national champion.