How to execute Rory McIlroy’s unique stinger tee shot

During the U.S. Open, Rory McIlroy introduced a stinger shot off the tee. GOLF Teacher to Watch Chad Gibbs shares tips to hit it yourself

Rory McIlroy introduced a new type of stinger at the U.S. Open. Here's how you can try it for yourself!

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Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a series in which we’re sharing improvements, learnings and takeaways from amateur golfers just like you — including some of the speed bumps and challenges they faced along the way.

Sure, this year’s U.S. Open may be over and a champion has been crowned, but there’s still plenty to take away from the third major of the PGA Tour season.

One of the biggest? Watching a known bomber off the tee, Rory McIlroy, try something new: A low stinger shot that had a low ball-flight and heavy top spin.

On a course like Pinehurst No. 2, we saw plenty of pros use a stinger to perfection, allowing the course and its conditions to maximize distance with lots of roll after hitting the ground. Due to some of the elements and narrow fairways on certain holes, the stinger was a great play off the tee.

But watching McIlroy use it was … shocking. After all, this guy can crush his driver with ease, and averaged 335.6 yards during the U.S. Open — good for second behind the eventual champion, Bryson DeChambeau. So it’s rare to see McIlroy pull back on trying to rip it.

Since the stinger is a simple concept that amateurs like you and me can add to our repertoire, I reached out to GOLF Teacher to Watch Chad Gibbs for some tips on how to hit it. Sure, we may not be able to execute it like McIlroy, but Gibbs at least gives some steps to try.

4 easy adjustments to hit Rory McIlroy’s stinger shot

In modern golf, hitting monster drives continues to be the name of the game, with players creating as much speed as possible while trying to hit up on it 3-5 degrees. We want high launch and low spin for 90 percent of golfers — with few golfers in the world better than McIlroy at doing that.

But every now and again, a player must pull it back and use some creativity, which McIlroy did at the U.S. Open by hitting a stinger shot — something we’ve rarely seen him hit before.

Rory mcilroy leaving the Pinehurst clubhouse after us open on sunday
Inside the tense moments after Rory McIlroy’s calamitous U.S. Open defeat
By: Alan Bastable

This type of shot allowed him to take advantage of the firm and fast conditions without sacrificing distance. It also gave him a much more accurate shot, since the landing areas were slim and surrounded by native areas.

So how can you replicate his stinger? By making these four easy adjustments.

1. Like having a second serve in tennis, you need to make a mental shift in your intent. You must commit to your shot and mentally see a different ball-flight.

2. Next, you must lower your tee height and bring back the ball position. By doing so, this will help you deliver less dynamic loft and a more level angle of attack.

3. On a typical drive, we’re trying to utilize max pressure shift accompanied with extreme brake force, which gives us natural angular and linear power into the golf ball. But when hitting a stinger, it’s not unlike flighting an iron — where the arms and pivot must communicate. You want to feel like your pivot/body dominate, and your arm speed isn’t as central to the swing.

4. Finally, hitting a stringer means having a touch more control in the swing — because it’s a pivot-dominant movement. The pivot is centered and the follow through is shorter, with both the arms and torso working together.

If you’re looking to add a stinger bullet to your arsenal off the tee like McIlroy and other pros did at the U.S. Open, start by using the four adjustments above.

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Nick Dimengo Editor