Tiger Woods made his 'stinger' shot famous at the 2006 Open at Hoylake, when he hit predominantly 2-iron lasers off the tee as long as many players in the field hit their drivers. (Only once in 72 holes did Woods hit driver.) Almost a dozen years later, Tiger still relies heavily on this shot when he absolutely needs to find the fairway. For some helpful pointers on how you can add this shot to your arsenal, check out the following swing sequence analysis of Tiger’s stinger - taken at the Honda Classic - from GCA lead coach Anders Mattson.
Tiger stinger sequence, 1
A textbook setup and start to the swing - his upper body is initiating the takeaway (no hand action) and there’s no manipulation of the club face. It remains looking directly at the ball.
Tiger stinger sequence, 2
Again, there’s no manipulation of the club face. The face angle matches his spine angle and remains neutral. I also like how he keeps his elbows soft - soft elbows lead to a soft grip and a smoother takeaway.
Tiger stinger sequence, 3
Tiger’s No. 1 goal is to place the ball in the fairway for the next shot, hence the shorter, three-quarter-length backswing for more control. The square clubface at the top of the backswing isn’t necessary to play great golf, but it sure makes it easier!
Tiger stinger sequence, 4
Tiger initiates the downswing with a little squat. What he’s doing is using the ground to create power and also start his rotation process at the same time. He’s pushing hard off his right foot onto his lead foot.
Tiger stinger sequence, 5
Whereas Tiger’s knees are straightening and his body is jumping up, the club head is traveling down toward the ground. These opposite forces generate a ton of extra club head speed. Note how Tiger’s hips have already rotated past where they were at address.
Tiger stinger sequence, 6
The most impressive part of the stinger is how low it launches and far it goes. With Tiger’s club head speed (clocked at more than 129 mph at the Valspar Championship) and ability to de-loft the club at impact, he can keep up with some players that are hitting driver.
Tiger stinger sequence, 7
BEST MOVE: Tiger’s long arms and abbreviated finish tell you he’s trying to control the ball flight and keep the trajectory down. Because of the lower spin rate on today’s irons (Tiger uses a TaylorMade 18-degree driving iron), he doesn’t have to manipulate the club face as much as he used to; still, he does a great job of holding off the face rotation. As a result, he doesn’t have to worry about hitting the ball left.
Tiger stinger sequence, 8
Tiger’s body has rotated enough to where he’s ready to “catch” the finish - meaning he’s able to receive the speed he’s created through impact. He has a very confident-, balanced-looking finish. As soon as the swing is done, he’s ready to take off down the fairway.
GCA lead coach Anders Mattson
Anders Mattson is the Golf Channel Academy lead coach and director of instruction at Saratoga National Golf Club in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. For more information about Anders - one of Golf Digest’s 'Best Young Teachers in America' - and to book a lesson with Anders, <a href="http://golfchannelacademy.com/anders-mattson/" target="_blank">please click here</a>