Social media titans, such as Instagram and Tik Tok, have recently become hotbeds for golfing videos showcasing the advanced low shot known as a stinger.
Easily one of the coolest shots a golfer can hit looks incredible on video, as the ball starts low to the ground and rises every so slightly with maximum velocity.
In recent years, Tiger Woods has become the foremost professional golfer when it comes to the stinger. His use of the stinger when facing a tight fairway or when he needs a low ball flight to evade wind has become highlight reel fodder.
For Tiger Woods, his stinger has become legendary in golfing circles for its distance and ball run. This how-to guide will look at how Woods hits a stinger and how you can add this weapon to your arsenal.
Step by Step Guide
Club selection is important when hitting a stinger, an admittedly difficult shot for most weekend warriors. Some golfers want to hit stinger shots with a fairway wood or even work on a hybrid stinger. Those two options are incredibly hard to grasp quickly, so finding a mid-range iron, such as a 5 or 6 iron works best.
Also, remember while this is a very fun shot to hit, it also provides an elaborate punch shot for your arsenal when attacking the golf course, especially from the short grass of the fairway or tee box.
One of the biggest problems golfers face when trying to master how to hit a stinger is aligning their bodies to avoid hazards on the course like water or sand traps.
The placement of your feet remains crucial to the type of swing you place upon the golf ball, so your feet line should be perpendicular to the intended target line of your ball.
By keeping things level and routinely normal, you can find the consistency needed to hit stingers where you want, making it much easier to avoid trouble on the course.
Hands Ahead at Address
At address, your hands need to move ahead of the ball in a position known as “forward press.”
This position encourages the hitting area of the long iron to trap the ball lower on the club face while generating the MPHs you need to produce the forward roll and distance necessary for a productive shot.
Full Backswing, Regular Downswing
A common misconception of hitting the stinger is that you need a different swing, but if you watch Woods hit a stinger, that’s not the case. Woods takes a normal backswing from a proper setup at address.
For Tiger, the only difference comes from the follow-through after impact, as he wants to keep his hands low and stop them as quickly as possible.
One of the biggest mistakes that amateurs make when testing how to hit a stinger properly in practice is by attacking the ball with such a descending blow that it causes the shot to flare to the right because the clubface slightly remains open through the impact zone.
Why You Need to Hit the Ball Hard
When hitting a stinger, Tiger Woods doesn’t downshift the MPHs on his club head speed. His swing remains as fierce and powerful as it would be on a normal swing with a driver when hitting the stinger golf shot.
Now, you’re not overswinging here, that’s not the takeaway from Woods. Instead, you want to keep the velocity and tempo of a consistent swing displayed on any normal shot.
For example, when facing a tight fairway, you’ll want to keep the ball low but still need to maintain distance, hence the full power swing.
So having that shaft lean pointing toward your hips and the weight shifting onto the front foot as you move through the ball will help you develop the stinger for your golf game.
Stay Loose and Fire Those Hips
Woods uses “loose hands” through the stinger swing, creating a sensation that most golfers call “noodle arms” to get the flexibility needed at impact to produce the high-velocity punch shots known as stingers.
Along with the loose hands, Tiger wants to fire those hips quickly, bringing that trail shoulder briskly through the impact zone to help keep the hands low at impact.
Hitting this popular shot takes some serious synchronization from all aspects of the body, something Woods encourages amateurs to master through repetition and practice.
Shoulder Over Knee at Impact
One of the biggest mistakes that amateurs make is staying behind the ball on the stinger. To hit a low stinger, you need your weight on the forward foot as the hands produce the attack angle needed for a great shot.
For Woods, getting that lead shoulder over the lead knee at impact is vital to producing the lower ball flight needed for this tricky shot. If you are unsure if your body rotation is getting you in the right place at impact, take a camera and film your swing in slow-motion.
Stopping Your Hands Around Shoulder Height
Woods’ primary goal after hitting the golf ball is stopping his hands. That doesn’t mean he’s stabbing at the ball because his swing is relatively normal for the most part, but the follow-through stops level with the shoulder.
Some golfers like to exaggerate the stopping of the club even more, such as Tommy Fleetwood, who usually stops the club around the elbow to bicep high.
What About a Fade or Draw?
If you begin to feel comfortable hitting the stinger shot, you may be wondering how to hit a stinger draw or stinger fade with your longer clubs.
When hitting a draw, you want to slightly close your stance, leaving the front foot ahead of the rear foot. Then practice swinging along the shoe line that should face to the right of the target.
On the fade, you want to face slightly left of the target with an open stance. With a lower loft club, such as a 5 iron, you want to swing along the toe line but hold that face slightly open at impact, creating that side spin you need for the fade.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you hit a stinger shot?
You hit a stinger shot with the ball in the middle of your stance and your hands slightly forward at address. You take a full backswing and swing as hard as you would on a typical full shot.
At impact, you want your hands leading ahead of the golf ball and your lead shoulder to be over the top of the lead knee to gain control. Finally, the follow-through stops roughly shoulder high to maintain the low shot.
When should you hit a stinger?
Golfers should hit a stinger when they need accuracy and can handle forward roll. Such situations as strong windy conditions also demand lower flight of the golf ball so that the lower trajectory can fight against swirling wind.
Narrow fairways also require accuracy from even the most skilled golfers, forcing the need to hit a stinger off the tee box.
What is the best club to hit a stinger with?
The best club to hit a stinger is a mid-loft club you feel comfortable with.
Most professional golfers feel comfortable hitting stingers with anything from a 1-iron to a 6-iron. Amateurs might find a 1-3 iron more difficult to hit stingers with, so a 4-6 iron would work much better and provide far more consistency.
Even PGA Tour players that hit hundreds of balls per day struggle to find consistency with their stinger, so you need to find a club you are comfortable with to work on mastering the stinger.
We suggest becoming comfortable with a mid-iron first before moving on to long irons.
Remember, the stinger takes practice and patience on the driving range before it becomes a standard shot in your bag of tricks.