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'This is important'

The ‘important’ key to Phil Mickelson’s signature flop shot, revealed

December 02, 2022
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Phil Mickelson has been hitting his signature flop shots for decades, much to the delight of golf fans.

Back in 1999, a then-29 year-old Mickelson dedicated three pages in Golf Digest to explaining exactly how he hits it, complete with an entire sequence of the shot (for those interested, you can read the full article in its original form right here).

Most of the key adjustments Phil Mickelson tells golfers to make occur at setup:

  • Playing your ball “off your front instep,” like you were a driver.
  • To use a high-lofted wedge “forget anything less than 60 degrees.”
  • Opening your stance and clubface, but keeping the clubface “aiming at the target.”
  • To let gravity “take over” as you swing: “You want soft momentum.”

But the key ingredient happens at impact, Mickelson wrote, and is essential to making the shot work.

“This is important,” he writes.

The key to Mickelson’s flop shot

After making those setup adjustments, Mickelson says you want to hit the shot “two inches behind the ball.”

“In that sense it is like a shot from the sand,” he writes.

Ordinarily, hitting behind the ball like this, which is why Mickelson reiterates the need for a high-lofted wedge with bounce that’s lower and “located near the rear of the club.” If you try this with a lower-lofted wedge, you’ll catch the ball thin and send it in a “beeline” over the green.

But with the right tools, hitting two inches behind the ball will send the ball high but landing soft.

“It explodes off a cushion of grass and turf,” he says. “You rely on the trajectory of the ball, not backspin, to stop it quickly.”

Once again, here’s the full issue that features the article, for all you golf nerds out there. If you need me, I’ll be practicing this on the chipping green.

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