Golf Tips: Hitting the Stinger
WHEN TIGER WOODS WAS DOMINATING THE PGA TOUR, ONE OF HIS MOST EFFECTIVE SHOTS WAS THE STINGER OFF THE TEE.
Perhaps the best example, was his victory in the 2006 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool where the fast firm fairways allowed Tiger to utilize the stinger to control his ball while getting plenty of distance by simply hitting 2-iron or an occasional three-wood. Tiger pulled the driver once on day 1, then relied on his stinger off the tee the rest of the way to secure his third Open Championship.
You probably won’t ever have the chance to dominate an Open Championship like Tiger, but you can learn the stinger and use it to your advantage on windy days or tight driving holes. The swing used to create a stinger makes the ball easier to control and it comes off the face with a low trajectory that has a tendency to roll out quite a bit giving you added distance. Tiger usually used a 2-iron to hit his stinger off the tee. You can hit the stinger with virtually any club in your bag. You may find you have better success with a fairway wood or hybrid off the tee. You can also use the same technique to hit punch approach shots with higher-lofted irons into greens.
You play the ball of couple of inches back in your stance. Grip down on the club to increase control. Make a full backswing under control, then make sure your front wrist (the left for right-handed golfers) stays bowed through impact. This move prevents the wrists from releasing. Finish by rotating your body fully. It feels much different than releasing the club to a high finish. The faster you can rotate through the finish, the more distance you can produce.
Butch Harmon, Tiger’s former swing coach, advises golfer trying to learn the stinger to start out trying to hit controlled 5-irons straight and low. The slightly higher loft helps you get the feel for the shot while giving you some added forgiveness. Once you get the technique down you can try it with hybrids and fairway woods. Many golfers feel very comfortable even hitting stingers with their driver. The stinger gives you a go-to shot you can rely on in the wind, on tight holes or when the pressure’s really on.