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“Float Loading”: The secret to hitting the one-hop-and-stop wedge shot



One of the most impressive and effective shots in professional golf is the 20-30 yard wedge shot that comes off low and hot, skips once or twice, and then comes to a quick halt. Fans love this shot, as it always evokes a cheer from the crowd, and amateurs want to hit this shot.

Below, I’m going to teach you how to hit that low-spinning, one-hop-and-stop shot.

For the sake of this article we’ll assume that the conditions are right for hitting this type of shot: you have a clean and tight lie, your wedge is clean and free of debris, the ball you are playing is one that is designed to spin, and you have a green that is capable of receiving this type of shot. If you have these things you have a much better chance of stopping the ball like the professionals on Tour.

Now let’s examine the photos of how this is done…

1) Address: Weight forward

At address, you can see that my spine is centered, the ball is in the center of my stance, and my hands and weight are forward. These things set me up for a downward angle of attack with a forward leaning clubshaft. These two components will add spin (up to a point) and help the ball stop quicker.

2) No-hinge backswing

On the way back I have not hinged my wrists very much, or even at all, because they will “re-cock” on the way down to increase the bend in my rear wrist leaning the shaft forward during impact.

3) Transitional lag

Here is the secret to the shot: the angle between the lead arm and the shaft is decreased on the way down. This transitional lag of the clubshaft will cause the rear wrist to bend more on the way down.

The secret to this move is a slow and soft change of direction so you can “feel” the clubhead lagging behind you. The wrists must feel relaxed. Homer Kelley in his book, The Golfing Machine, called this “float loading,” and that’s just what the club feels like in transition.

4) Forward-leaning impact

At impact, depending on how much transitional lag you added in the above step, you will see a forward leaning clubshaft here. The amount of lean will determine the dynamic loft you have on your wedge at impact and this will cause the ball to launch lower.

One thing to note here: our goal is to just brush the grass after the ball with a forward leaning clubshaft, not dig a trench. If the angle of attack is too much downward, then you might have some trouble getting the ball to stop as quickly.

Remember, this is something you must practice! It’s not a shot that you will play every time, but it’s a great shot to play when you need some extra spin around the green. Float loading is a great technique, but only if you work at it!

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Tom F. Stickney II is the Director of Instruction and Business Development at Punta Mita, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico ( He is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, and has been honored as a Golf Digest Best Teacher and a Golf Tips Top-25 Instructor. Tom is also a Trackman University Master/Partner, a distinction held by less than 15 people in the world. Punta Mita is a 1500 acre Golf and Beach Resort located just 45 minuted from Puerto Vallarta on a beautiful peninsula surrounded by the Bay of Banderas on three sides. Amenities include two Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses- with 14 holes directly on the water, a Golf Academy, four private Beach Clubs, a Four Seasons Hotel, a St. Regis Hotel, as well as, multiple private Villas and Homesites available. For more information regarding Punta Mita, golf outings, golf schools and private lessons, please email:



  1. Homer Doyle

    Nov 8, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    Funny, I try to feel the shaft leaning BACK to hit a low shot with spin and float loading would not be in my 24

  2. geohogan

    Oct 28, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    COR determines spin. To adjust ball flight, external focus is on which groove to impact the ball.
    The higher the groove, the lower the flight(higher the spin)

    Hands forward is effect of proper external intention.
    Ref. The Hogan Manual of Human Performance: GOLF, 1992.

    • Chuck Daniels

      Nov 8, 2018 at 9:16 pm

      LOWER the groove the LOWER the flight and HIGHER the spin.

      The LOWER the loft the more SOLID it feels and a spinner is not solid. We could cut a balata ball doing it one time.

  3. Obee

    Oct 25, 2018 at 10:03 am

    What club are you playing that with, Tom? In my experience, the low-flying, high-spinning “put on the brakes after a bounce or two” shot is usually hit with a LW or SW. Looks like you are hitting a PW or GW there?

    • Dshafe

      Oct 25, 2018 at 9:29 pm

      dave you dont have the swing speed for this shot

  4. koober

    Oct 24, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    So I guess I’ll be the token commenter for whom this method of chipping works. I had no problem with the term or the explanation. Like the article states, one must practice this, a lot. Probably won’t work as well for higher handicappers, because it does require a higher degree of proficiency to pull off successfully. Props for owning up to the typo, Ben. Mistakes. We all make ’em.

  5. Tom

    Oct 24, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    I executed a “Float Landing” this morning after my second cup of coffee.

  6. d

    Oct 24, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    Why did Homer Kelly call this “Float Loading”? According to Websters, Float (verb) is defined as “…rest or move on or near the surface of a liquid without sinking.”

  7. Nick

    Oct 23, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    Can you explain what green conditions are necessary to get this type of action?

    • Yep

      Oct 24, 2018 at 2:28 am

      All American courses that have no rough, and that’s all of them, and are mowed so people like Phil can play there.

      • Joe

        Oct 24, 2018 at 6:22 am

        Congratulations on the ignorant, uninformed internet post of the day

  8. Alex

    Oct 23, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    This article is not very helpful. Ultimately, the only thing that matters is the way the club is delivered into the ball. The question you need to answer first is what attack angle, dynamic loft, and face-to-path angle are necessary to produce a high-spinning pitch? If you believe that adding wrist hinge during the downswing will help most players produce these delivery characteristics, then explain why!

  9. Stixman

    Oct 23, 2018 at 11:50 am

    I think your ‘headline’ should be float LOADING not float landing. To me it isn’t just another typo, it’s more fundamental. Do you read and understand this stuff before committing it to print or is it merely clickbait?

    • Ben Alberstadt

      Oct 23, 2018 at 3:28 pm


      As you’ll see in the body of the article, Tom uses the appropriate term. As the editor and publisher of the piece, headline writing is my responsibility, and the mistake is mine. It has been corrected. My apologies.

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Tip of the week: How to handle big breaking putts



In this week’s tip, top 100 teacher Tom Stickney shows you how to coordinate line and speed, manage wrist breakdown, and more keys to navigating big breaking putts.

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Brooks Koepka’s grip secret



Here is a great video on understanding what allows a great player to get through the ball and deliver hardcore to his targets. Without this part of his grip, he would be hard-pressed to deliver anything with any kind of smash factor and compression. See what you can learn from his grip.

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Swing speed vs. quality impact



In today’s age of hitting the ball as hard and as far as you can on tour, I am amazed at the number of amateur golfers who totally disregard the idea of quality impact. In fact, you can hit the ball further with better impact than you can with poor impact and more speed (to a point.) Sure, if you can kick the clubhead speed up 10 MPH-plus versus your normal speed, then this is not a requirement, but in reality most players only swing a few MPH faster when they actually try. Yes, this is true, I see it day after day. You might think you can swing 10 MPH faster but rarely do I see more than 2-3 MPH tops.

I had a student that came in the other day and was obsessed with swinging harder but when he did his impacts were terrible! When I put him on Trackman and showed him the data he was astounded that he could swing slower yet produce more distance.

Here was a typical swing he made when swinging faster 105.8 mph where the impact was low on the face and the ball carried 222.3 yards.

Here was a typical swing he made when swinging slower 102.9 mph where the impact was much better on the face and the ball carried 242.7 yards.

Now, obviously we know that this works to a certain degree of swing speed but it does show you that focusing on quality impact is a key as well. I’m always telling my players that I want them to swing as hard and as fast as they can AND maintain quality impact location — if you can do both then you can have it all!

The best way to understand impact quality without dismantling your swing is to use foot spray to coat the face of the club then hit a few balls to see where impact normally occurs and see if you can adjust.

If you can, great, if not, then go see your teaching professional and figure out why so you can find quality impact once and for all!

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19th Hole