Golf is a historic and widely popular sport, possessing many rules and terms that might seem alien to those who aren’t followers. One such term is a ‘stinger’, which has a specific meaning within the world of golf.
But what exactly is a ‘stinger’, and when is it used?
What Is A ‘Stinger’?
Within golf, the term ‘stinger’ refers to a control shot that causes the ball to travel at a lower trajectory.
This causes the ball to spin less, and causes it to roll out farther than a typical golf drive.
This shot is generally designed to control the direction of play, placing accuracy and control above power and speed, which is why it is such a good shot for any player to have in their arsenal.
Why Is This Considered A ‘Control’ Shot?
This stinger (see also: How to Hit a Stinger?)is considered a control shot, as it requires (and provides) much more dexterity and precision for the shot to work.
It not only requires a lot of concentration, but also a specific movement set to work, which it then returns on the follow through of the swing – ensuring the ball goes where the player wants it to go, and at a speed that doesn’t bring any unwanted deviations.
When Should A ‘Stinger’ Be Used?
Experts recommend only attempting this kind of shot once you have a proficiency in similar (albeit less complicated) shots, like the big fade and a slice – at least in any professional, competitive capacity where the final result counts.
The stinger’s main benefit is that you can control the direction of the shot – something that comes in handy when your intention is to roll it onto the green, instead of hitting it far and high.
What Are The Benefits Of A ‘Stinger’?
As well as improved control, there are other benefits to the ‘stinger’.
If you are in a particularly woody part of the course, then a ‘stinger’ can be good for avoiding trees and branches that could otherwise hinder your progress.
Higher shots would risk causing obstructions to your shot, whereas the low trajectory associated with the stinger would mean you can navigate the treeline with accuracy and grace.
The best thing about the stinger is that you are transferring the energy into the right direction, and one that is beneficial to advancing your position.
Higher shots lose a lot of power during their trajectory – due to wind and other factors – whereas the low resistance of a stinger means that you have more chance of rolling farther on the green.
One of the main benefits of a stinger is that, in most cases, you can properly counteract the force of strong winds, ensuring there is minimal disturbance to your desired trajectory.
This is especially useful when playing in Scotland, where the winds can be strong, disastrous, and unpredictable – at least as far as a golf swing is concerned.
By keeping the ball lower, you are minimizing the power that the wind has over you, maintaining the desired speed of the shot, and keeping a degree of accuracy at the same time.
Of course, this type of shot is not made for long distances, but can be equally as effective across moderate distances, as well as short ones.
How To Perform A Stinger?
A stinger is definitely a more advanced shot, but if you want to stand a chance of performing one successfully, there are some steps you can take.
Begin with a 5 or 4 iron, as these will give you the most dexterity and control. You can always progress to longer irons as you improve, but until you learn the ropes, play it safe.
Keep your stance narrow, much more so than a traditional stance, and then drop the ball in the middle of your stance.
This will feel unnatural at first, but it is paramount if you are to achieve the right trajectory for the stinger.
Keep the ball one ball length back in your stance, but not so much that it hinders your swing, or gets in the way of your feet.
Also, grip the handle about 1 inch lower than you usually would to create more punch.
You need to create a full backswing for this shot, with a full shoulder turn and bringing your back hand up level with your ears.
When easing into the downswing, lead it with your lower body, twisting but remaining balanced as you follow through with the swing.
Ensure your wrists remain strong and firm throughout.
This has a couple of benefits, including a shorter follow through – something that is perfect for this kind of shot – as well as a reduced loft that ensures the ball remains close to the ground.
Things To Remember
Of course, when it comes to engaging with this type of shot, there are some things that are worth bearing in mind.
In terms of stance, maintain balance and keep your arms loose and relaxed for the cleanest stroke.
When choosing a club, try to avoid hybrid clubs, as these tend to produce high trajectory shots instead of the low shots we are aiming for with the stinger.
Lastly, always create a divot before the swing. This will help steady the ball, and will ensure a cleaner, more controlled execution.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about the ‘stinger’ shot, and its effectiveness within a game of golf.
There are many different instances when the ‘stinger’ can come in handy – namely when control and precision are the names of the game, and speed and height are less important.
However, this shot is considered a more advanced move, so it is best to make sure you are fully practiced and proficient before unleashing the ‘stinger’ during a pivotal game.