How To Hit A Stinger

It's well worth knowing how to hit a stinger as this low, penetrating shot popularised by Tiger will come in very handy in certain conditions

How to hit a stinger
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

How to hit a stinger

The stinger really came to the fore in Tiger’s heyday, with the great man impressing and entertaining us many a time with that low, penetrating, drilled ball flight.

He even hit stingers with his driver sometimes, usually rounded off with that satisfied club twirl of his!

When to play the stinger and why?

The low stinger - a close cousin of the punch shot - is not just about impressing others, though. It’s also a highly practical shot in a variety of scenarios…

* On windy days when a lower flight will be buffeted around less by the breeze
* When you want more roll to chase it further down a firm, tight fairway
* Chasing it up to a back pin on a long green rather than risking flying it all the way
* Keeping it under branches to help you progress further down the hole rather than just chipping out

How to hit a stinger under the trees

The stinger can be a handy shot into the wind or for keeping the ball low under trees as Top Coach Peter Finch demonstrates here

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

With practice, some golfers even turn to it as their reliable fairway-finder off the tee when they simply have to hit the short grass.

Club selection

In most instances you will need to take more club than usual for the distance because the lower ball flight won’t carry so far, although you will need to factor in any increased run in firm conditions or downwind.

As you will be delofting the club further at impact, be wary of using too low a loft other than when you need to really keep the flight down. Less loft makes it harder to execute successfully, just as in a normal full swing.

Set-up

Normally with a longer iron, you would have the ball a little forward in your stance.

But for the stinger, put the ball in the middle and grip down the club a little, Crucially, now shift your weight slightly towards the target such that 60-65% of it is on your front foot at address, with your hands slightly ahead of the ball.

This will encourage the more descending blow you need to keep the ball down.

Narrowing your stance a fraction should also help you to drive your hips through the ball as you swing.

How to hit a stinger - grip down the club

Grip down the club a little more than normal to hit a stinger

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Taking the club away

Keep that additional weight more on your left side throughout your backswing rather than transferring on to your back foot as in a normal full swing.

This allows the swing to become a little more vertical going back, enabling you to bring the club back into the ball on a steeper path and helping you to punch it away on a lower trajectory.

Most golfers know that the swing should be shorter when trying to keep it low but be wary of making it too short as that can throw your tempo out.

From impact to follow-through

Don’t rush the transition from the top, and then really feel as though you’re leading hard with the hands through impact – much more so than in a normal full swing. You must keep rotating with the upper body.

Your hands must stay ahead of the clubhead through the ball, with your weight slightly ahead of the ball at impact too. You’re still releasing the club but later than in a normal swing.

How to hit a stinger - hands through impact

The hands must stay ahead of the ball and lead hard through impact

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Finally, the follow-through and finish should be much shorter than normal. How short will depend on how low you need to hit it.

How to hit a stinger - the follow-through

Top Coach Peter Finch's two different finishes here highlight the shorter follow-through on a stinger (right) than in a normal swing (left)

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Tiger had a repertoire of stinger finishes, sometimes as low as just hip height when he wanted to really keep the ball down!

Having the stinger in your repertoire could well save you a shot or two here and there, so it’s worth spending some time experimenting with it.