Tiger Woods: Stinger long-iron tee shot, Hoylake 2006

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On the way to an emotional victory at the 2006 Open Championship at Hoylake, Tiger Woods destroyed the field with a four-round total of 18 under par, one shot off his own scoring record set at St Andrews in 2000, with some superlative long-iron play.

Woods realised from his first practice round that he could drive his ball more than 370 yards on the hard and fast fairways. So in order to give him more control, he replaced his 5-wood with a 2-iron, although he would occasionally hit a 3-wood off the tee.

Woods’ game plan was to keep the ball on the fairway and stay short of the bunkers. His strategy paid dividends. Woods hit his driver only once the entire week (on the 16th hole of the first round), and missed just four fairways on the way to lifting the Claret Jug two months after the death of his father Earl.

Keeping the ball in play is paramount on any links course and mastering the long-iron stinger is a great way to add control of both trajectory and sidespin. Find more fairways with Kristian Baker’s tips.

NOW PLAY THE SHOT

Hit the stinger by following these three simple tips...

BACKSWING

SWING BACK SHORTER
With the ball back in the stance, make a shorter backswing with less wrist cock to give you a shallower angle of attack. This helps sweep the ball, generating less spin.

IMPACT

COVER THE BALL
The hands need to be in front of the ball when you strike it to take loft off the club. Be sure to cover the ball with your body, helping to drive the ball out lower.

FOLLOW THROUGH

CURTAIL YOUR FINISH
Your followthrough will be curtailed because you're not allowing the club to fully release, caused by the excessive shaft lean towards the target.