What is a Flop Shot?

By Ben Jarratt •  Updated: 07/14/23 •  6 min read

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A flop shot is a type of golf shot where the ball is hit with the club shaft positioned at right angles to the ground. In this article, we will first understand what is a flop shot and give you a few tips to help you hit it correctly.

This will take some practice to perfect, but it’s worth learning because the ball tends to travel shorter distances than most other shots. 

What is a Flop Shot?

A flop shot is a golf shot that has been designed to hit the ball with the club shaft positioned at right angles to the ground. The ball is usually in a tight lie, or near or just off the green. 

This will take some practice to perfect, but it’s worth learning because the ball tends to travel shorter distances than most other shots. 

What is a Flop Shot Used For?

A flop shot can often be used when a player is in a tight lie or near or just off the green. The low flying ball bounces along the ground, this means the player does not have to strike it that hard and so there is less risk of de-lofting (hitting with too much loft) or hitting thin air at impact (because you are aiming low). 

This also allows you to play shots close to greens where you wouldn’t otherwise consider using your driver.

The flop shot has many uses, but we would recommend keeping it simple. It is not a ‘hit and hope’ shot. Know your capabilities. 

If there is no wind and you are playing in ideal conditions, this shot can be deadly.

When Should You Use a Flop Shot?

If you are in a bunker make sure your wedge is deep enough to get the ball out of the sand and onto the grass. If it isn’t, try another club or consider playing another shot altogether.

You should only play this shot if you have practiced it and know how to strike the ball correctly every time. It’s not a ‘hit and hope’ shot, but there will be times where you need to hit from a tight spot with little room for error and this can be used as an effective bailout shot.

The flop and pitch are very similar shots in terms of technique. However, they both carry different risks/gains. The flop has less loft, so it requires less power than a pitch shot but needs more accuracy to get the ball up and down.

Your distance control is key with a flop shot, so don’t play it if you are in doubt or unsure of your ability.

When Should You Not Use a Flop Shot?

If there is some wind, consider using an iron or wedge instead, as these will still fly straight without having to spin the ball back (for added distance) after hitting it. 

You can always use this shot for a pure spin when playing on the green but make sure you know how much power you need to give it and that your path won’t take you away from the hole (otherwise known as ‘laying up’). 

Look at where others have been able to land their shots before attempting anything closer than this.

How Do You Hit a Flop Shot?

A typical flop shot would be executed from an area of rough that is too thick for standard approaches. 

If you were playing on grassy fairways, it might be used when there are trees behind your target line and you need to play over them by hitting up into a backspin. 

So it will not clash with branches while crossing through their canopy. A long iron may also be used to produce more backspin on the ball.

The ball is lifted with a very shallow swing and struck very softly so that when it lands, it bounces slightly and then rolls out of the line. 

The techniques for this shot are similar to those used in chipping (which shares many aspects with flop shots). The ability to flop a shot depends greatly on the lie, and proper positioning of the ball (and your body) before striking the shot. 

The more open the stance is to the target line, the less likely you will be able to get any backspin on a flop shot. Always ensure that your feet are not too far apart, or their distance may pull you off balance when you strike the ball.

It is also important to ensure that your feet are far enough behind the ball so that when the club strikes it, there is no possibility of hitting yourself in the backswing.

A flop shot will always have a lower trajectory than a comparable chip, and its landing spot will be farther from the hole because less backspin is generated from the rough than that created by a chip struck on grass.

To practice this shot, it’s best to find an area with no obstructions and soft ground so you can create proper lies. The ball must be rolled out of the line after it lands because the backspin should not carry too far in front of the golfer’s feet.

If you have a long lie and are far from the green, consider hitting a flop shot rather than trying to hit it hard enough to carry over trees or through thick rough. It’s also good for getting out of sand traps because the approach is shorter than other shots with similar backspin.

Flop Shots Tips 

What is a Flop Shot – Conclusion

You can learn how to do a flop shot by practicing hitting balls into the ground on a practice tee. l. Your first success may not be spectacular, but keep practicing until you get the hang of it. 

The flop shot takes some practice in order to land softly with good distance, but you’ll be surprised how well it works after a couple of tries.

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