When I’ve seen Phil Mickelson play at The Open and hit this type of shot I’ve never seen him take a divot, which makes me think that he’s not hitting down on the ball or “driving the club straight down into the ground” as he suggests here. It might be that this is a unique feel to him rather than what he actually does.
1. A flop shot lesson
2. From Phil Mickelson
3. Wearing flip flops
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— National Club Golfer (@NCGMagazine) December 13, 2018
What he certainly does is take a really wide base which helps to give a shallower bottom to the swing and helps get him lower to the ground.
What is really interesting is that his lead wrist, the right for Phil, creates loads of cup which really helps to open up the clubface. The more angle he creates there, the more loft there will be at impact.
Then all the work is done in the backswing, he opens the face up loads and then holds that open. He describes it as slamming down but he actually cuts across it left or, for him, hooks right. Look at the divot, it’s really angled so that shows how much he’s going round his body.
What to practise
1. A lot of club players get a bit confused by where their weight should be. I like to describe it as pressure or tension, rather than weight, and we want that tension on your front leg and then move around that. People tend to lean their upper body over their front leg, which means you will get incredibly steep and get stuck in the shot, whereas the upper body should stay centred.
2. Make sure the stance is wide with your front foot more splayed outwards and then everything works around that lead leg. Phil lifts his back leg off the floor to show this and this is a great way to practise the shot. Learn how to pivot around your front leg and try to stop your weight moving about.
3. Open the clubface up as much as possible. You want as much cup in your lead wrist as possible with the toe of the club really hanging down. Hold that angle as you turn around your front leg and slide the club under the ball. The loft that you’ve got halfway down is going to be maintained if you exit the club left.
4. The key bit is that the hands go immediately towards his right trouser pocket which means the club will work under the ball and all the speed that he built up sends it upwards. If you are trying to hit down on it there is more chance of a massive divot and no softness to the shot – when your hands go towards your trouser pocket the angle in your wrist will be maintained all the way down and might even be increased. You don’t get this by slamming down on the ball.
— GaryEvans (@garyevanspro) July 17, 2018
Dan Whittaker is an elite golf swing and performance coach based at High Legh. For more information, visit his website.