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Flop Shot - When to Use It When Chipping

Rule of thumb when chipping or pitching in golf dictates that you get the ball onto the green and let it roll as far as possible so that it will succumb to the natural undulations of the green. In most circumstances this works and avoids many chips which shoot past the hole or end up off the green past the pin.

There are times, however, when a direct line to the green may not exist. There may be a tree, or a tree branch in you normal chipping arc line, or you may be several feet below the green if it raised significantly from the fairway. In these cases it may not be advantageous, or even possible, to try and hit your normal chip with hopes of the ball traveling along a more line-drive path. When these situations arise, it may be better to rely on a flop shot.

In essence a flop shot is a type of chip or pitch that creates much more arc and loft than a regular chip or pitch. The result is that when the ball hits the green, it tends not to travel as far. Flop shots take a fair amount of practice to hit well consistently but should definitely be in the arsenal of any golfer. I've seen golfers hit a flop shot literally over small trees and land the ball right next to the cup when a normal chip shot was impossible.

The trick to hitting a flop shot is to open the clubfact a little more than a typical chip or pitch, and try to exaggerate your swing so that the clubface is more parallel with the ground and sky. I can usually accomplish this by dropping my back shoulder through my downswing. This will cause the ball to jump off at a higher angle with more loft than a typical chip shot. It also helps to flick your wrists as you come through which will help create some backspin. This is definitely useful for cups that are closer to the edge of the green where you are chipping from as you can safely try to target the center of the green and watch as the ball slowly rolls back to the pin (with practice of course!).

As you start to practice and become more confident with your flop shot, you can start to adapt it to other clubs and situations besides a short chip shot. Using the same technique you may be able to hit a pitching wedge or 9 iron with more loft if need-be from 80 yards out where a "normal" 9 iron or pitching wedge would result in a distance of 120-130 yards.

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