How To Hit ‘Knuckle Ball’ Flop Shots

Keep An Open Face For A Soft Landing

How do top-tier pros like Phil Mickelson pull off those amazing flop shots time after time? And what situation warrants this kind of pretty, delicate shot in the first place?

Flop shots are useful when you’ve got little green to work with. For instance, if you’re just off the side of a green with a tucked pin, you need a shot that sticks as soon as it lands — it doesn’t spin and is “dead” when it hits the green. This shot not only adds diversity in shot making for the golfer, but is impressive to watch when you pull it off.

In this tip I’ll show you the technique for how to grip the club, which club to use, and how to execute the shot so that the ball lands on the green and doesn’t roll out.

flop shots-setupTHE SETUP

Use the most lofted club in your bag, like a 60-degree wedge. Open the face and the stance just as you would a bunker shot, as I’m doing in Photo 1. Weaken your grip (for a right hander, turn both hands counterclockwise on the grip). Try to feel that the “v” that is created between the thumb and first finger points to your lead shoulder, as in Photo 2. The weak grip prevents the face from rotating close during the shot.

flop shots-swingTHE SHOT

Photos 3-8 show the proper swing technique for flop shots. In the backswing, make sure to hinge the wrists quickly, which sets up a downswing that allows the club face to slide underneath the ball. The face will continue pointing to the sky beyond impact, and the ball will hardly spin off the face so when it lands on the green it won’t roll out. Think of a knuckleball in baseball and how little it spins.

Practice this shot during every session and pretty soon you’ll give Phil a run for his money.

Alison Curdt is a PGA Master Professional and LPGA Professional based in Southern California. Contact her at


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