If you’ve seen it once, then you’ll always remember Tiger Woods hitting an impressive stinger shot. The stinger has been around for a while, but Tiger made it popular and appealing to a broader golfing audience.
The stinger is a low-flying, piercing golf shot that exhibits exceptional accuracy while navigating challenging winds.
Regardless of your level of playing skill, adding the Stinger golf shot to your repertoire is beneficial. Personally, I use this shot a lot, especially in windy conditions. In this article, you’ll learn how to execute the perfect stinger and more:
- What Is A Stinger Golf Shot
- Origins Of The Stinger Golf Shot
- Stinger vs. Punch Shot
- How Hard Is The Stinger Golf Shot? 6 Considerations
- 10 Steps To Hit A Stinger Shot Like A Pro
- Club Selection For A Stinger Golf Shot
Let’s get going!
What Is A Stinger Golf Shot?
The Stinger golf shot is characterized by its trajectory—low to the ground and penetrating through the air with minimal elevation. Golfers typically employ the Stinger golf shot when facing windy conditions, where keeping the ball low helps maintain control and precision. The ball flight of the Stinger golf shot is relatively flat, traveling faster than traditional high shots.
This shot requires technical skills and an understanding of ball positioning and club selection.
Hitting a Stinger Shot showcases a player’s versatility and demonstrates their ability to adapt to various course conditions.
Did Tiger Woods Create The Stinger Golf Shot?
Tiger Woods popularized and brought the Stinger golf swing into the mainstream, but he didn’t invent it. Great golfers like Ben Hogan and Lee Trevino were known for their ability to control low shots, essentially the forerunner of the modern stinger. But Tiger Woods is arguably the player most influential in popularizing the shot.
Stinger Golf Shot vs. Punch Golf Shot
Before we get into how to hit the stinger golf shot, it’s important to distinguish it from another common golf shot- the punch shot. Both shots fly low and are effective in windy conditions, but there are subtle differences.
The stinger golf shot generally has better control, more penetration, and a longer distance than the punch golf shot. Golfers often use stingers to achieve maximum length from the tee.
Punch shots, by contrast, are short, more controlled shots that stay close to the ground and land softly.
The difference between these shots lies in the trajectory and the club used. The stinger requires a slightly higher ball flight, which is achieved with less loft on the face. Punch shots, on the other hand, use more loft to keep the ball very low and under control.
How Hard Is The Stinger Golf Shot? 6 Considerations
Mastering the Stinger golf shot is no easy feat. It is considered an advanced shot that even seasoned golfers may struggle to execute flawlessly.
To hit a great stinger shot in golf, it’s essential to take the time to practice and have confidence in executing the shot. If you are hesitant or unsure, you may not get the results you want. Here are 5 things to consider;
#1 Course Conditions
The type of course and its conditions can significantly affect the execution of a stinger golf shot.
Courses with narrow fairways, hazards, or uneven terrain can make it more difficult to find the ideal ball trajectory and maintain control during shots. Finding the perfect ball position is a great start to better control over Stinger shots, achieving the desired trajectory and distance. To counter these factors, golfers can practice ball positioning and understand each course’s unique attributes.
#2 Technical Precision
To maintain accuracy and a low trajectory, the stinger golf shot requires near-perfect technical execution, including clubface control, hand positioning, and body rotation, which I will discuss in more detail below.
#3 Ball Positioning
Correct ball positioning in the stance is crucial for a successful Stinger. A slight variation can lead to unintended outcomes, such as topping the ball or hitting it too high. Mastering the art of consistent ball placement is essential to achieve the desired low trajectory and controlled flight characteristic of the Stinger shot.
#4 Club Selection
Choosing the right club is paramount in hitting a Stinger golf shot. While long and driving irons are often preferred, the choice may vary depending on the golfer’s swing and the desired distance.
#5 Wind Conditions
The Stinger golf shot is primarily used in windy conditions– such conditions add complexity to shot-making. Playing in the wind can be challenging, even for experienced golfers.
Achieving consistency with the Stinger golf shot is tough. Players need to put in significant hours on the practice range to develop muscle memory and maintain control over the shot.
How to Hit a Stinger Golf Shot
Now that we understand what a Stinger golf shot is and the challenges associated with it, let’s delve into the step-by-step process of how to hit a stinger shot:
Step 1: Proper Setup
As with any golf shot, a proper setup is crucial. Start by positioning the golf ball slightly back in your stance, closer to your right foot (for right-handed players). This ball position helps achieve a descending strike and a lower ball flight.
Step 2: Choose the Right Club
Selecting the appropriate club for the Stinger golf shot is essential. Typically, long irons (e.g., 2-iron, 3-iron) or driving irons work best for this shot due to their lower lofts and longer shafts. Your chosen club should allow you to keep the ball low while providing enough distance to reach your target.
Step 3: Strong Grip
Grip the club with a slightly stronger grip than usual. A stronger grip means turning your lead hand (left hand for right-handed players) slightly clockwise on the grip. This adjustment helps promote a more controlled and penetrating ball flight.
Step 4: Shot Shape Adaptation
Adjust the ball position in your stance to create different shot shapes. Moving it forward promotes a straighter, higher trajectory while placing it back encourages a controlled draw. Experiment during practice to understand how each position affects the ball’s flight.
Step 5: Alignment and Target Focus
Pay close attention to your alignment and target focus when attempting a Stinger shot. Ensure your body and clubface are aligned correctly with the target line. Visualize the intended ball flight and landing spot while setting up for the shot.
Maintain focus on your target throughout the swing to enhance accuracy and increase the chances of executing a successful Stinger shot.
Step 6: Weight Forward
During the setup, position your weight slightly forward onto your front foot. This encourages a steeper angle of attack, ensuring crisp and solid contact with the ball.
Step 7: Controlled Backswing
Keep your backswing under control. Avoid taking the club too far back, as this may lead to losing control during the downswing. Focus on a smooth and controlled takeaway.
Step 8: Downswing and Impact
On the downswing, focus on driving your hands ahead of the clubhead at impact. This forward shaft lean helps keep the ball trajectory low and ensures a solid strike.
Step 9: Minimal Follow-Through
The follow-through in a traditional golf swing involves a full club release with high hands. Keep your follow-through minimal and controlled for the Stinger golf shot, with the hands staying relatively low. This action imparts the desired low trajectory on the ball.
Step 10: Practice and Patience
Mastering the Stinger golf shot takes time and practice. Be patient with yourself, as gaining proficiency may take several practice sessions.
What Clubs For a Golf Stinger Shot?
As mentioned earlier, long irons and driving irons are recommended for the Stinger golf shot. These clubs have a low loft, typically ranging between 18 to 24 degrees on the long irons and 16 to 18 degrees on the driving irons.
Reducing loft keeps the ball lower, helping golfers maintain control and precision in windy conditions. Among the long irons, the most popular options for hitting the stinger are the 2, 3, and 4-irons.
However, some players may choose to use utility or hybrid golf clubs with similar lofts to achieve the desired ball flight. It’s important to note that club selection ultimately depends on the golfer’s swing mechanics and comfort level. Try different golf clubs on the practice court to find the best one for your game.
Key Takeaways: The Stinger Shot
The Stinger Golf Swing is an addictive and challenging golf shot made famous by Tiger Woods. Mastering the Stinger golf shot may not be easy, but with consistent practice and dedication, golfers can add this impressive shot to their arsenal. At this point, you should feel pretty confident in your Stinger golf shot execution.
For golfers who consistently achieve average distance on their shots, adding the stinger to their repertoire can solve some distance challenges, especially on long par 4s and 5s.
The final step is to go outside and practice. I recommend trying out a few Stingers on the driving range before hitting the actual golf course. You’ll be hitting Stingers like a pro in no time!