How To Hit The Super-Soft Flop Shot

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How To Hit The Super-Soft Flop Shot

September 08, 2013

1.) SIZE UP THE SHOT

With any really difficult or awkward greenside shot, like over a bunker or from a severe slope, the first step is to visualize exactly what the ball has to do. From your position, imagine how you would toss the ball to get it close (see photo). Would you try to land it in the fringe or at a certain spot on the green, and what sort of speed and height would the toss have? Actually making tosses is a good way to practice these tough shots. When you face one on the course, pantomime the tossing motion with your dominant arm and hang on to that feeling.

2.) RHYTHM IS THE GLUE

Just as there are many ways to swing a driver effectively, there are probably even more ways to hit successful pitch and flop shots. But what they all have in common is smooth rhythm. Like glue, rhythm holds together the idiosyncrasies of a pitching motion and makes them repeatable under pressure. Establish your rhythm by making two or three rehearsal swings in succession. Check that the swing is bottoming out at a spot even with the ball (see photo). Unlike on an iron shot, where the club's leading edge provides a bit of dig, on a high flop you want the club to skim through the grass. A good feel is that the clubhead is passing your hands through impact.

3.) PLAY RECKLESSLY

A lot of things about this crazy game are counterintuitive, but here's my favorite: To be in control you have to let go of control. It's when we try to protect against skulls and chunks that we're most likely to hit them. To play recklessly, make sure your swing keeps going all the way to the finish (see photo). Any blip of hesitation can ruin the shot. I liken it to skydiving: You can be the guy who's afraid his parachute won't open, or you can be the guy embracing the experience. Either way, you've got to jump out of the plane. Hit the shot like you're excited to jump.AND... MAKE THE PUTT
OK, you've done the hard part and played the hero shot, giving yourself a putt at it. Now what? Repeat steps 1-3 with your putter: Size up the line, focus on the rhythm of your rehearsal strokes, and play recklessly.

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