Private Lessons: Zipper up your flop shots

October 18, 2017

Phil Mickelson you’re not. When you try to lob the ball over a bunker or to a tight pin location, the results are unpredictable—at best. If you struggle to hit this intimidating shot, take a look at your setup. You’ll probably find that your hands are too far ahead of the ball at address, a move that creates way too much forward shaft lean. Try the following setup and swing adjustment— you should start flopping it with the best of them.


Set up with most of your weight—about 70 percent—on your front leg and your shoulders fairly level. The ball should be positioned slightly forward in your stance. Most importantly, set your hands slightly behind the clubhead so that the butt end of the club points at your zipper and the grip leans ever so slightly away from the target. This will cause your left wrist to become bent back, or cupped, making it easier for the clubhead to pass your hands and add more effective loft to the clubface at impact.

This might seem counterintuitive to some players, because you’re usually taught to hit down on most of your pitch shots. But to hit the ball extra high and soft, you need the clubhead to pass your hands prior to impact. So think about returning your hands to a spot behind your zipper at impact, just as they were at address. Do this consistently, and your confidence on these shots will soar.

To get the clubhead ahead of your hands in the impact zone, play the ball slightly forward and concentrate on keeping the butt end of the club pointed at your zipper at address and in your follow-through.

Your cupped left wrist and forward ball position will impart the extra loft you need to hit the ball high and make it stop on a dime.