The stinger, Invented by Ben Hogan and popularized by Tiger Woods, and now every golfer’s dream move. The stinger shot is more than just a trick. It makes the ball seem like it’s defying physics in the most glorious ways and makes the most challenging shot look like a walk in the park or, better yet, the course.
So, when should you hit a stinger?
The stinger is primarily used in windy conditions when you don’t want to risk the breeze changing the trajectory of your golf ball. But that’s not the only thing it’s suitable for.
If you’re ready to start working magic on the golf course, read as we tell you everything you need to know about the stinger shot. We will highlight what it is and how and when to use it.
What Is the Stinger, and When Should You Use It?
A close cousin of the punch shot, the stinger is a control shot that takes the ball flight on a lower-than-normal trajectory, thus reducing the ball’s spin. It also makes the ball roll out further than it does with a higher trajectory shot.
These characteristics make the stinger an efficient shot in various scenarios, not just impressing others. The low trajectory ball flight keeps the ball below the branches, so you can progress further down the hole without the risk of chipping out.
The shot gives you more roll when you want to chase the ball down a tight fairway or to a back pin on a long green.
The Stinger vs. the Punch Shots
Many golfers confuse the stinger with the punch shots, which is not surprising because both shots take the ball on a lower trajectory. But, despite their cosmetic similarities, these shots have some notable differences in how they are made and their suitability in various scenarios.
Starters need to comprehend the stinger as a full-swing shot to keep the ball low. On the other hand, the punch shot has an abbreviated swing played from the back of your stance to keep the ball as low as possible.
Both techniques avoid obstacles like trees and find a clearing below the branches.
How to Hit a Stinger in Golf
Despite being one of the most remarkable shots, not everyone can pull off a stinger. Sure, the greats like Tiger Woods make it look easy, but these guys break 85 consistently.
So, what’s their secret? The secret to pulling off a stinger is perfecting your swing using these simple steps.
Select the Right Club
Most players’ biggest mistake when trying to hit a stinger is grabbing the longest iron in their bag. If you watch the greats like Tiger Woods and Radford closely, you’ll notice that they hit most of their stingers with a 5-iron.
The reason behind this is pretty straightforward. The descending blow required for the shot alters the club-face angle at impact. This essentially turns your 5-iron into a four or even a three. And, just like with a standard full swing, using a lower loft makes the shot harder to execute.
Adjust Your Setup
Your stinger won’t work unless you have the proper setup. Start by teeing up like a typical shot. Drive your tee fully into the ground. Putting the tee too high makes it almost impossible to take the shot.
Next, balance your weight 50/50 such that you don’t move your weight to your forward foot. Doing that will make you hit down on the ball too much. Instead, hit the ball in the mid of your stance. This will minimize the ball’s spin-off of the club-face as you shoot it down the fairway and give you more roll once it hits the turf.
Lead With Your Hands
It would be best if you had the club head to ‘push’ the ball with minimal launch requirements to hit a successful stinger. You can achieve this by ensuring the club head sits behind your hands as you enter the impact zone. It might take some time, but it’s essential to the shot.
Stay Loose on Your Backswing
Tensing up is a primary reason relatively good players fail to develop a good stinger. The stinger is an abnormal shot. So most players tend to overthink it, swing harder, and grip the handles too tightly.
To make a stinger shot, you need to have zero tension in your forearms through impact. This may seem counterintuitive, but in reality, tensing up slows down your swing, thus limiting the speed of the ball.
Swing Low and Around Your Body
Unlike a typical shot where you swing up, you need to make a complete turnaround of your body for the stinger. It would help if you also made a lower swing, which guarantees a shorter follow-through. It would also be helpful to keep the club head as straight as possible through impact. The best thing about this move is that it fits most golfers’ natural motion. So, you’ll get it right with a bit of practice.
The stinger is one of the most iconic shots in golf. While it may seem impossible for the average golfer, the technique is relatively simple. All it takes is a lot of practice, the tips above, and a firm belief you can do it, even under pressure.