Tiger Woods is notorious for his accuracy and precision. His polished game never fails to impress. His shots move the ball in a way that appears almost godly to most amateurs, and it’s no wonder that he’s won the Masters Tournament 5 times.
Tiger’s arguably most popular shot is the Stinger. He winds up, compresses, and releases, launching the ball low like a cannon shooting a cannonball with a gradual rise to the sky. Read on to learn more about the Stinger Shot and what the 5 steps are for you to hit one (or at least try) the way Tiger Woods does.
What’s the Stinger Shot?
Stingers are usually considered low flying shots. What makes them unique is that they start low and gain altitude as they pick up speed. While Tiger Woods was one of the first to utilize the shot, other tour players like Zac Radford have used it to reinvent their game.
The Stinger Shot is considered optimal for tight fairways or windy conditions.
What kind of golfer should use the Stinger?
The Stinger is undoubtedly a cool shot; do it right and you’ll turn heads at the driving range and if your boss likes it, get a promotion. There are pros who don’t have the confidence to hit it regularly as it’s extremely difficult to perform.
If you’re consistently shooting lower than 85 however, and are confident with your irons, the Stinger might be worth adding to your toolbox.
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When should you play the Stinger?
For holes that are replete with water, sand traps, and narrow fairways, opt for this shot. The Stinger can set you up for a better hole starting at the tee.
It’s also a great shot for windy days, especially swirling wind. While the standard shot will most certainly be pushed around by raging winds, the Stinger is low enough that it can avoid most of the turbulence and find the short grass.
Stinger vs Punch
A punch shot is played from the back of your stance to keep the ball as low as possible, usually to avoid obstacles and put your play back on the fairway. The Stinger is a full shot that is meant to keep the ball low and in the fairway. It’s not a recovery shot.
What Clubs Can you Hit a Stinger With?
The short answer is anything but your putter (though we’d be impressed if you tried). Because a Stinger is typically hit off the tee, stick to your long irons like your 3 iron, your driver, or even your 3 wood. Using these clubs allows for maximum control and actually helps increase your ball run on the fairway and the green.
How to Hit the Stinger
If you’re sure the stinger is on par with your abilities and experience, check out the tips below.
Tip 1: Start With a 5 Iron
Long irons are difficult to swing. In other words, they’re not the most favorable learning club. Grab a 5 iron from your bag, no lower.
Tip 2: Play the Ball Mid-Forward
Ball position is key to the proper setup for a stinger. The ball should be slightly forward of the center of your stance. This will help to create a lower spin rate as the ball leaves the clubface, resulting in a faster spin as it hits the grass.
Tip 3: Pull the Club
The stinger pushes the ball forward rather than launching it forward and up. In order to create this effect, it’s important that you pull the club through the swing. Simply put, your clubface should be behind your hands at the point of impact.
Accelerate through the swing. A Stinger requires significant power. Move your hips fast as well as your hands. This will help to create the pulling effect on the ball and add additional power at impact.
Tip 4: Noodle Arms
Because most players aren’t used to the feel of the Stinger, their immediate reaction is to tense up. It’s counterintuitive, but gripping the club harder actually leads to a less powerful swing, and more blisters (ouch). Pretend your arms are noodles. Keep them loose throughout the swing, and focus on making clean contact with the ball.
Tip 5: Swing Low, Swing Left
Pull your hands slightly to the left mid downswing. This helps create a stronger descending blow to the ball strike which is critical to a low flying shot. Keep the clubhead as straight as possible through impact.
Follow through, but not too much. Tiger describes the final step of the Stinger shot as the “breaking” phase. Not meaning that you hurt yourself, but that you should slow your hands as soon as possible after impact. Your club should go no higher than your lead shoulder when you follow through. This will ensure that your shot stays low by decreasing the rate of rotation.
How to Hit a Stinger Fade
The steps are largely the same: ball mid-forward, pull the club, noodle arms, swing low and left. The only difference is, you should align yourself slightly left of the target and open the clubface slightly at impact. Draw a line with your feet. You should swing down it. That should give you a good fade.
How to Hit a Stinger Draw
To perform a Stinger Draw, place the ball farther back in your stance. The ball should be positioned farther back than it would be for a fade. For maximum results, aim your feet slightly right of the target and close your clubface slightly at impact.
Hitting a Stinger with a Driver
When you’re hitting a Stinger with a driver, it’s extremely important that you tee the ball down. You won’t be able to hit a low shot from a tee that’s 3 inches high. Move it towards the middle of your stance. These steps will work to lower the attack angle at impact for lower flight. These slight adjustments and the generic steps above are all you need!
A Stinger is an awesome addition to your toolbox as you’re looking to elevate your golf game. Like anything else, practice is key. Follow the steps above, and stay hyper-aware of what your body is doing and how it interacts with the club. Self-awareness is the biggest factor in success on the course, so practice it every time you go to the range. With enough time and discipline, you’ll have mastered a booming Stinger in no time!