Heading into this week's Open Championship, a hot topic of conversation has been the Stinger shot. Controlling the golf ball in the wind is always a focal point around Open week, but our Team Titleist colleagues in the U.K. are saying that at Royal Portrush this week, we may see an unprecedented number of the ground-hugging tee shots.
Maybe the buzz is a result of the recent triumph at the U.S. Open by Gary Woodland, who is a master of the low burner (Exhibit A: the clip attached below).
Maybe players are discovering that the stinger is a new option following the tour release of Titleist's new U•Series utility irons. These new clubs are already the most-played utilities on the PGA TOUR and many players have been seen showing off their low-launch prowess on the Portrush practice tee.
Whatever contributed to this recent fervor, we wanted to learn how guys are able to hit this impressive-looking shot. So we reached out to an expert, Titleist staff member Mark Blackburn. Mark recently put his own U•500 Utility Iron in the bag and in the tip above, he defines exactly what a Stinger is and provides the keys to hitting this low-flying, long-rolling specialty shot.
We hope you enjoy the video. Give Mark's pointers a try the next time you play in heavy wind and let us know if the Stinger helps your game:
Keys to Hitting the Stinger
1. Position the ball back in your stance
- Helps reduce dynamic loft through impact for lower launch.
2. Keep more pressure in your lead leg throughout the swing
- Distributing more of your weight to your front foot will help you pivot around your lead leg. This moves your center of mass forward and helps keep the ball down.
3. Lean the shaft forward at address
- A forward press of yor hands towards the target willhelp you preview the proper impact position, where the handle of the club needs to be ahead of the clubhead in order to launch the ball low.
4. Open your stance slightly
- Leaning the shaft forward naturally opens the clubface slightly. A slightly open stance will counteract this tendency and allow you to start the shot on target.
5. Use an abbreviated swing
- By using no more than a 3/4 swing, you'll be able to control the clubface better and you'll also have much greater success in keeping the spin rate down.
6. Rotate hard through impact
- If your body stalls, your arms release and the club will flip through impact, adding a lot of loft. Instead, keep your body turning through impact, and feel like the handle of the club is ahead of the clubhead as long as possible.
To learn more about Mark's teaching and to take your game to the next level at The Blackburn Golf Academy, visit Blackburn Golf.
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Bonus Stinger Content:
Gary Woodland at this year's Sony Open in Hawaii:
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Scott Stallings during the Tour Launch of U•Series utility irons: