Golf Tip: How to Beat the Shanks


As winter begins to thaw and the vibrant colors of spring come to bloom, golf season is in full swing. We want members to feel excited as they hit the green for the first time since fall. Our pros have put together some top of the line tips so you will be on your game as you take your first strokes this spring.

The shank. Golfers at all levels have encountered this stroke once or twice before. We have all been there, and all never want to go back. The shank occurs when a player contacts the ball with the hosel of the club head. This typically causes the ball to shoot off to the immediate right (for right handed golfers). The underlying cause of the shanks is a clearance issue between body and club at impact; this can be caused by a number of reasons. Below are helpful factors to find the cause of your shanks.

Factor #1: Standing too close to the ball. Simple, but a common mistake made by amateurs. If you are standing too close to the ball it can create a clearance issue between your body and your hands; creating a shank. Try stepping a few inches away from the ball, and swing normally.

Factor #2: Weight distribution too far forward. The shanks can also be caused when a player’s weight is too far on their toes at impact. A player who leans their bodyweight forward during the downswing has the tendency of the upper body drifting toward the ball; in turn, the arms, hands, and clubface can move a few inches farther away from the body, causing an impact with the hosel. Concentrate on balance, bend the knees, and try to keep your bodyweight centered to resist the body falling forward toward your toes.

Factor #3: Do you play a Pull-Cut? The ball flight that is most likely to create a shank is one that starts left and fades right. The outside-to-inside swing plane and the closed clubface that creates this ball flight effectively makes your clubface narrower and causes the hosel to be more in the way. Practice an inside-to-outside swing plane, and do your best to always square the club face at impact. (Tip: Where the ball STARTS in the air is where your clubface is pointing at impact).

There are other factors that can contribute to the shanks; movements in the swing such as “The Right Arm Chicken Wing” and an early hip turn can promote a shank, but only in extreme circumstances. If the shanks continue after trying the previous remedies, come see me, you are curable!

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