We’ve all seen Phil Mickelson play amazing flop shots on video and in tournaments but although he’s great to watch he does not have a monopoly on golfing creativity.
That was my theory anyway so I thought it would be ok to challenge Ladies European Tour Professional Carly Booth to hit a lob shot over my head during a recent clinic.
Reassuringly for me, she did not hesitate and why would she? She’s a hugely talented golfer……in 2008 aged just 16, she was the youngest ever golfer to be selected for the Curtis Cup. No problem then.
So I put a stake behind me to give her a target, pushed my cap down over my eyes and just stood in the way.
Of course, she hit a brilliant shot, which just floated over my head and finished very close to the stake. The crowd loved it.
I, on the other hand, flinched as if I had been shot. I had no idea how hard she was going to swing and the crunching sound of impact really made me jump.
The golden rule of flop shots – don’t swing at the target!
Well, this is a shot that requires you to cut across the ball with an open clubface – a swing that would produce a huge slice if you did it with a longer club.
There are just two adjustments to make. The club needs to be open and the swing path needs to be across the ball from out to in.
The feeling is that the heel of the club arrives at the ball first as you swing across it.
The one thing you must not do is swing directly at the target.
See Carly’s club just after impact. The club shaft is not pointing at the target (me) but well left – this is the golden rule.
Notice that Carly has also aligned herself left of target so the swing just follows the line of her feet…..just as it would on any shot.
If you do swing at the target, then you’ll probably hit the ground first or catch the ball thin. A good reason to never try this at home!
It’s only for emergencies
This is a great shot to be able to play but should be used sparingly since it makes distance control a bit more difficult than when you pitch with a square club face.
It is up to you to evaluate the risk and reward but do save this shot just for emergencies like when you really have a tight pin and an obstacle in the way.
In my view Phil Mickelson used to use it too much and has now changed his strategy to play lower flighted shots when possible. This is one reason why he has had more success recently in the Open Championship where links turf and wind conditions demand the lower shot more often.
So do not overdo the lob shot – if you have an easier option, then you should certainly take it.
Jeremy Dale is a brand ambassador for John Letters, Paradis Golf Resort in Mauritius and the World Corporate Golf Challenge.