The Secrets to Hitting a Flop Shot

, GolfLink Editor
Updated July 27, 2023
Tommy Fleetwood hits a flop shot
    Tommy Fleetwood hits a flop shot
    Drew Hallowell
    Getty Image license

You’re 20 yards from the hole but you have only three yards of green to work with. Oh yeah, the green is also sloped away from you. This is nobody’s favorite scenario, but the good news is it’s the perfect time to pull out the flop shot.

Stan Utley, a Golf Digest Top 50 Teacher, is here to teach you the secrets to pulling off the flop shot.

When to Hit the Flop Shot

A flop shot does two things: it launches high, and it stops quickly.

That’s why you need it when you either have an obstacle between your ball and the green, or when you’re short-sided with very little green to work with.

Flop shots might be fun to hit, but there’s a time and a place to take it upstairs, and others when you should keep it simple.


3 Secrets to Hitting the Flop Shot

The goal of the flop shot is to get the ball in the air quickly, and to do that we need to maximize loft. With that in mind, grab your most-lofted wedge for the flop shot.

Add Loft to Your Wedge

Before you even start your swing, we’re going to add loft to your wedge in two ways.

First, open the club face a little bit.

Second, move your hands back slightly, towards your trail foot. This will reduce shaft lean and help you present as much loft as possible at impact.

The Flop Shot Swing

Address the ball with a square stance. During the downswing, let the club head catch up to the hands, and even pass the hands just before impact, and release around your body.

Letting your club head catch up to and pass your hands actually adds loft, ensuring a nice high launch and a soft landing.


Use the Bounce

The flop shot is not a fundamental shot, and therefore some of the fundamentals you know so well, specifically ball-first contact, don’t apply.

Instead, as Utley points out, you can hit well behind the ball and slide the bounce through the grass into impact. Because it’s a rounder swing with a shallower delivery, you can skid the club into the ball and let the loft launch it in the air.

Helpful Hack

Practice your flop shot until you can hit it high and land it softly consistently. Once you have the swing down, practice hitting flop shots different distances to get a feel of distance control with the shot. Once you can do that, you’re ready to bring it to the course.

Flop With Caution

Having a flop shot in your arsenal certainly comes in handy when you need it, but even though it’s pretty easy to hit a good flop once you learn how, if you have multiple options to get the ball close to the hole, the flop shot is almost guaranteed to be the highest-risk option. If you can hit a standard chip shot, do that. 

The risk is that when you mis-hit a flop shot, the result is almost always disaster. If you come in too steep, you risk a big chunk that barely advances the ball. If you hit it a little thin, you’ll have plenty of time to wave goodbye to your ball as you watch it fly 50 yards over the green on a frozen rope three feet off the ground.