Is the Tiger Stinger a Shot for You?
By Bradley Turner Keiser University College of Golf Director of Online Golf Instruction – MBA, PGA
We have witnessed many great shots over the years by Tiger Woods. One reason is that he has had more television time than any other golfer in history. Another reason is that he is simply amazing at the many skills required to play the game at the highest level. One shot he made famous was the stinger shot. He hits this shot when he looks to control the ball by keeping it lower to the ground. Ideally, the ball will stay below the height of the tree line to mitigate the effect of the wind. This is a fun shot to hit, but it is not for everyone.
Purpose of the Stinger
The stinger shot is a control shot that flights the ball at a lower than normal trajectory. In windy conditions, the stinger is very effective in reducing the spin of the golf ball, allowing it to penetrate through the wind. Another benefit is that the ball will generally roll out farther than a higher trajectory golf shot. Tiger likes to hit this shot when he wants to control the direction as well. When executed properly, the stinger is a great shot to have in the bag.
Why is the Stinger Considered a Control Golf Shot?
The impact conditions created by the stinger give a player more control of the golf ball. This occurs because the stinger requires the handle of the club to be leaning towards the target more than a normal golf shot. In addition, the handle of the club must keep moving after impact to ensure a low trajectory shot, increasing the players’ control of the club face. The negative of the shot is that it will not fly as far as a normal golf shot and will not stop quickly.
One of the big mistakes players of all skill make (including PGA Tour players) is allowing the toe of the club to close too quickly, causing a dreaded hook shot. At the highest level of competition, a hook will keep a player behind the ropes instead of competing inside the ropes. With the stinger shot, the more the shaft leans forward through the impact zone, the less likely a player will close the face too soon.
Who Should Try the Stinger?
Everyone can try to develop a stinger, but it is best reserved for experienced players who can hit a draw or hook. If a player is hindered by a big fade or slice, then there are a few important changes that must be made before the Tiger Stinger can be learned. For those players that can draw a golf ball, this shot can take the iron play to a new level. Tiger says he first started hitting this shot with his wedges. He learned to flight his wedges which simply means to hit them at a lower trajectory. By flighting his wedges, he was able to control the distance as well as trajectory. Eventually, he learned to expand the technique into the remaining clubs in his bag.
The main objective of the shot is to lean the shaft and keep the butt end of the club moving past impact. For this to happen properly, it is very important for the golfer to rotate the hips and torso as quickly as possible. One key to accomplishing this rotation is to keep the trail shoulder moving through the forward swing. Additionally, the player should sense that the chest is facing the target prior to impact. This body rotation will allow a player to keep the butt end of the club moving well after impact.
The arms and hands should swing back to about shoulder height on the backswing and shoulder height on the forward swing. This abbreviated swing reduces overall club head speed, and therefore, ball speed and spin rates. The Tiger Stinger was used by many great British Open Champions, including Harry Vardon, J.H. Taylor, and James Braid. Who are they, you might wonder? Great players from the late 1800’s who mastered controlling the golf ball by hitting knockdown shots into the Scottish winds. Tiger didn’t discover the stinger; he renamed an old shot and made it famous.
If you want to take your game to the next level, contact our team at Keiser University’s College of Golf & Sport Management today. With our dedication and experience, together, we can elevate your game to new heights. Give us a call today at 888-355-4465.