A 'New' Scoring Shot
One of the most treacherous but potentially valuable green-side recovery shots to have in your arsenal is the 'flop' shot. We watch the tour professionals execute these weekly with great success, hitting that high and soft shot with their lob wedge to save par or make a birdie on a par-5 hole.
But then, we see recreational golfers struggle mightily with this shot, way too often dumping the shot well short of their target, or catching the ball right in the forehead which sends it screaming across the green and frequently into complete oblivion. It is the highest risk/reward shot in golf for those who have not spent dozens of hours practicing and perfecting it enough to be reliable.
Very simply, the flop shot is typically executed with your highest lofted wedge. You position the ball further forward in the stance, lay the face of the club open — much like a bunker shot — and swing more steeply. The ball pops almost straight up — either it has lots of spin, or is essentially dead — and hopefully flies the proper distance. That is the hardest part of the equation.
I'm going to offer you a little twist on the traditional flop shot that can simplify it and add to the arsenal of shots to call on around the greens. It begins with a simple understanding that there is no law that says you have to hit a flop shot only with your highest lofted wedge. In fact, you can execute this technique with any of your higher lofted clubs, all the way down to your 9-iron or P-club.
Understand that with any club, laying the face open and swinging more steeply will almost always increase the height of the shot and the spin. So, if you have a longer flop shot, instead of taking a much bigger swing with the lob wedge, try dropping down to your sand or even gap wedge and hitting it just the same. You will get more forward oomph to the shot because of the lower loft without taking such a big swing. You will see improved spin, too.
Of course, I do not advise just trying this on the course until you have experimented with it a little around the practice green or on the practice tee. A useful exercise is to go to the range and hit three or four flop shots with your lob wedge, then three to four more with your sand wedge, trying to exactly duplicate the swing and force, then doing the same with your gap wedge. Heck, work on down with the same swing technique to your P-club and even 9-iron to see if they work and what happens.
What this exercise does for you is give you an idea of new shots you can add to your repertoire and how much additional distance you will get with each of these other clubs for a given swing length and force.
Among the great things about our game is all the fun new things you can do with your clubs and interesting new ways you can approach a given shot or a given hole. I hope you all have some fun with this one.
Please let all of us know what you find out.
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