Here's how to lob it high and soft -- along with some free gear to practice the technique

Sooner or later you’ll face a shot where you must carry a bunker to a sloping green with very little room between the hazard and the pin. Only one shot can save your score here: the flop. Start out by using your most lofted wedge; aim left of the target and open the clubface. Play the ball in the middle of your stance, not forward as some people suggest. Moving the ball up only increases the likelihood that you’ll hit the ground before the ball.

Once you’re set, simply make the same wedge swing you’d use in a bunker. Keep the clubface open, slide it under the ball and swing to a full finish. The combination of an open clubface and a high finish gives the shot the high, soft trajectory it needs to carry the bunker but keep the ball from running too far down the slope. When we snapped this photo, I landed the ball two feet short of the pin and stopped it just two feet past the hole. Perfect.

I don’t want to say that the flop is easy—even though you hit it like a bunker shot, you don’t have the margin of error you’d typically get in the sand. With a little practice, however, it’s a spectacular shot that’s attainable for all golfers.

PRACTICING THE FLOP

The flop shot requires a three-quarter backswing and a full finish. It works with any one of your wedges, and I suggest you practice this shot with each of them. Warning: If you practice this shot with a real ball, a poor swing can produce potentially harmful results. However, if you use an almostGOLF ball, you can practice in your own backyard and minimize the risk (these spheres fly a third of the distance of real balls while giving you a realistic launch and flight, but because they’re lighter they can’t injure anyone). I’m such a believer in this product that I’m offering you a free two-ball pack to test out in your own backyard. Visit almostgolf.com for details.

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