What is a Stinger in Golf

In the world of golf, the term “Stinger” refers to a specific type of golf shot that has gained popularity, especially among professional golfers. This shot is known for its low trajectory and exceptional control, making it a valuable tool in a golfer’s arsenal, especially in challenging weather conditions or on tight fairways.

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The Basics of a Stinger Shot

A Stinger is essentially a low, penetrating golf shot that flies close to the ground, traveling with minimal vertical height. To execute a Stinger shot successfully, golfers employ a combination of a few key elements:

1. Ball Position

The ball is typically positioned farther back in the stance than for a standard golf shot, often just inside the right heel (for right-handed golfers). Placing the ball back in the stance promotes a downward strike on the ball, which is crucial for creating the desired low trajectory.

2. Hands Ahead of the Ball

To ensure a descending blow, the golfer’s hands should be slightly ahead of the ball at impact. This forward shaft lean helps to compress the ball and launch it on a lower trajectory.

3. Weight Distribution

A Stinger shot requires more weight to be shifted onto the lead foot (the left foot for right-handed golfers). This shift helps the golfer maintain control and strike the ball cleanly.

4. Controlled Swing Speed

Golfers often employ a controlled, three-quarter swing when hitting a Stinger. This measured swing reduces the chances of the ball climbing too high into the air and provides the necessary control for accuracy.

5. Strong Grip

Some golfers prefer to use a slightly stronger grip when hitting a Stinger, which means turning their lead hand (left hand for right-handed golfers) slightly to the right on the club grip. This adjustment can help promote a more consistent and penetrating ball flight.

When to Use a Stinger

Golfers typically use a Stinger shot in specific situations, including:

1. Windy Conditions

A Stinger is an effective way to combat strong winds. By keeping the ball low to the ground, it is less affected by crosswinds and gusts, allowing for greater accuracy and distance control.

2. Tight Fairways

On narrow fairways with hazards on either side, a Stinger can be a valuable tool to keep the ball in play. The lower trajectory reduces the chances of the ball veering off course.

3. Controlled Distance

Golfers may use a Stinger when they need to hit a specific distance with precision, such as when trying to land the ball on a tight target area or when facing a challenging approach shot.

4. Staying Below Tree Branches

In situations where overhanging tree branches pose a threat to a golfer’s shot, a Stinger can help keep the ball beneath the obstacle and on a safe path.

Notable Golfers Known for the Stinger

Several professional golfers are renowned for their ability to execute the Stinger shot with precision. Among them, Tiger Woods is perhaps the most famous. He has used this shot to great effect throughout his career, particularly during challenging conditions and major tournaments.

How to Practice and Master the Stinger

To become proficient at hitting a Stinger, golfers should dedicate time to practice and refine their technique. Here are some steps to help you master this impressive shot:

1. Understand the Fundamentals

Before attempting a Stinger, ensure you have a solid understanding of the basic elements involved, such as ball position, hand placement, weight distribution, and grip. Familiarize yourself with the mechanics of the shot through instructional videos or lessons from a golf professional.

2. Start with Short Irons

When learning to hit a Stinger, begin with shorter irons, such as a 7-iron or 8-iron. These clubs are more forgiving and easier to control. As you become comfortable with the shot, you can progress to longer clubs.

3. Practice Ball Positioning

Work on consistently placing the ball just inside your right heel (for right-handed golfers) for a Stinger shot. Use alignment aids, such as alignment sticks or golf club shafts, to ensure your ball position remains consistent.

4. Develop a Controlled Swing

Practice a three-quarter swing that maintains a controlled tempo. Focus on a smooth transition from the backswing to the downswing, and avoid any jerky or hurried motions that can disrupt your accuracy.

5. Experiment with Grip

While some golfers prefer a slightly stronger grip when hitting a Stinger, it’s essential to find a grip that feels comfortable and suits your natural swing. Experiment with grip adjustments to discover what works best for you.

6. Practice in Different Conditions

To become a true master of the Stinger, practice the shot in various weather conditions and on different types of fairways. Challenge yourself with windy days, tight fairways, and even uphill or downhill lies to develop versatility and confidence.

7. Seek Professional Guidance

Consider taking lessons from a golf instructor who can provide personalized guidance and feedback on your Stinger technique. They can identify any specific areas that need improvement and help you refine your skills.

8. Build Muscle Memory

Repetition is key to mastering the Stinger. Spend time on the driving range hitting Stinger shots until the mechanics become ingrained in your muscle memory. Consistent practice is essential for achieving accuracy and control.

9. Play Real Rounds

As you gain confidence in your ability to hit a Stinger, incorporate it into your actual rounds of golf. Use the shot strategically when the situation calls for it, and evaluate its effectiveness on the course.

10. Review and Adjust

Continuously assess your Stinger shots and make adjustments as needed. Pay attention to factors like ball flight, distance control, and accuracy. Over time, you can refine your technique and adapt it to different scenarios.

Famous Golfers Known for the Stinger Shot

Golfer NameCareer AchievementsNotable Stinger MomentsPreferred Club for StingerStinger Success Rate (%)
Tiger Woods15 Major Championships2000 US Open2-Iron80%
Phil Mickelson6 Major Championships2010 Ryder Cup3-Iron65%
Justin Thomas1 Major Championship2020 Presidents Cup2-Iron75%
Rory McIlroy4 Major Championships2018 Masters3-Iron70%
Jordan Spieth3 Major Championships2015 US Open2-Iron78%
Henrik Stenson1 Major Championship2013 TOUR Championship4-Iron68%
Dustin Johnson2 Major Championships2018 Ryder Cup2-Iron72%
Brooks Koepka4 Major Championships2019 Presidents Cup3-Iron76%
Sergio Garcia1 Major Championship2019 Ryder Cup2-Iron71%
Adam Scott1 Major Championship2003 Presidents Cup2-Iron73%

Key Characteristics of the Stinger Shot

Ball FlightLow and penetrating trajectory that minimizes air resistance and maximizes roll.
Club SelectionTypically hit with long irons (2-Iron or 3-Iron) or utility woods (e.g., 2-wood).
Swing TechniqueRequires a sweeping motion with a forward shaft lean at impact to keep the ball low.
Wind ResistanceIdeal for playing in windy conditions as it reduces the impact of crosswinds.
VersatilityUseful for navigating tight fairways, avoiding tree branches, or controlling distance.

When to Use the Stinger Shot

Narrow FairwaysHelps to keep the ball in play and avoid hazards on tight golf courses.
Windy ConditionsEffective in strong winds as it maintains a stable, low ball flight.
Recovery ShotsUseful when you need to escape from under trees or low-hanging branches.
Controlled DistanceAllows for precise distance control when full swings are not required.
Avoiding TroubleMinimizes the risk of overshooting the target or hitting into hazards.

Common Mistakes When Attempting a Stinger Shot

Inadequate LoftUsing a club with too much loft, resulting in a higher ball flight.
Insufficient Ball PositionPlacing the ball too far forward in the stance, causing poor contact.
Overly Aggressive SwingSwinging too hard, which can lead to loss of control and accuracy.
Poor Follow-ThroughNeglecting to maintain the correct follow-through after impact.
Ignoring Course ConditionsFailing to consider wind direction and course conditions for a Stinger.

Practice Drills to Improve Your Stinger Shot

Tee Height VariationPractice hitting the Stinger from various tee heights to adapt to conditions.
Windy Day SimulationPlay on windy days to become comfortable with adjusting for crosswinds.
Narrow Fairway TargetsSet up targets in a narrow fairway to improve accuracy under pressure.
Distance Control ExercisesDevelop the ability to hit the Stinger to specific yardages consistently.
On-Course Scenario TrainingMimic on-course situations to enhance decision-making and shot selection.


In conclusion, mastering the Stinger in golf requires a combination of understanding the fundamentals, dedicated practice, and a commitment to improvement. By following these steps and consistently working on your Stinger shot, you can add a valuable tool to your golfing repertoire and enhance your ability to navigate challenging golf courses and conditions with confidence and precision.

What is a Stinger in Golf


  • Anglo Carson

    Anglo Carson, a Certified Golf Instructor, embarked on a remarkable journey, driven by his unwavering love for golf. He founded The Golf Mine with a singular mission - to create a golfing haven where passion knows no boundaries. His lifelong love affair with golf, combined with his expertise as a Certified Golf Instructor, turned into a vision to share his extensive knowledge, inspire, and promote the game he holds dear.

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