Learn about the golf shank, a common issue among golfers where the ball is hit off the club’s hosel resulting in a poor shot. Discover the causes and ways to fix this frustrating problem to improve your golf game.
A golf shank occurs when the golf ball hits the hosel of the club instead of the club face. This results in a mis-hit where the ball travels off to the right (for right-handed golfers) at a 45-degree angle.
This commonly occurs when the golfers lose control of their swing, and the club hits the ball off-center or behind the club’s face. This is a common problem among amateur golfers.
Although it can be frustrating, understanding how and why shanks occur can help you avoid them in future rounds of the golf game.
I. Types of Shank
Even the best golfers have hit the occasional shank. Different kinds of shanks can occur while playing golf. Let’s explore some of the most common types of shanks seen on the golf course.
- The in-to-out shank
The in-to-out shank is also known as the “better player” shank or the “heel” shank. This golf shank happens when your clubhead is swinging on a too-shallow path, an inside-to-out path that brings the hosel close to the ball.
How to fix: To fix this, you can steepen your downswing and move your path more leftward by tilting your spine towards the ground at the address.
Doing this will create a steeper shoulder turn and allow your arms to go higher, pulling the hosel away from the ball.
- The over-the-top shank/ outside-in
The “outside-in” shank is often caused by the clubhead path becoming too steep, resulting in the heel moving across your target line.
How to fix: To combat this problem temporarily, you may need to work on swallowing your swing. However, getting a lesson with an experienced coach is always best to ensure you hit perfect shots.
II. What causes golf shanks, and how to fix them?
Golf shank is a common fault among golfers, caused by poor swing mechanics. There are several causes of a golf shank. Here are some of the reasons for the same and how to fix them:
1. Poor Address Position – Standing Too close or Far From Ball
When approaching the golf ball, it is essential to pay attention to how far to stand from the ball. If you stand too close, you may lift your spine angle in the downswing and hit an unwanted open-faced shank. This is also known as early extension in golf and most often results in shanking the golf shot.
On the other hand, standing too far away can cause momentum to be transferred into leaning toward the ball on impact, which could again result in golf shanks.
Therefore, keeping your distance in mind when setting up for each shot is essential.
How to fix:
- It is important to ensure your weight is distributed correctly when addressing the golf ball.
- The ball position must be set optimally for a mid-iron.
- Your arms should be allowed to hang naturally.
These steps will enable you to achieve the best possible performance of your golf shot.
To achieve the perfect stance, one should maintain a gap of roughly the same length as an open hand’s width between the thigh and the club’s end. By doing so, you can ensure that your posture is set correctly for each shot.
2. Unstable Grip pressure / Poor Grip on the Club
Another issue you may be experiencing could be related to your grip and grip pressure. A very light grip on the golf club may cause the club to move in your hands during the swing.
Make sure to pay attention to how you hold the club and adjust your grip as needed.
How to fix: To ensure that you have the correct grip pressure, try this simple exercise: place some grass on top of your left thumb and then between the butt of the club and the pad of your left hand.
If this grass stays in place during your swing, you have adequate grip pressure going into each shot. However, if the grass falls off, it could be a sign that your grip pressure needs to be corrected and should be adjusted.
3. Not checking Golf swing path
If you shank the ball regularly, you must know how to swing a golf club to the target line to get an ideal swing path.
However, most golfers understand that the perfect swing path through impact should come from the inside of the ball toward the outside of the target line.
How to fix: To avoid an over-the-top golf swing and the resulting shank, ensure that your backswing is smooth and consistently on the inside of your target line.
To practice maintaining a good swing path, try placing a tee behind the ball, just outside the line from the ball to the target. As you take the club away, focus on keeping the clubhead inside the tee.
As you approach impact, aim to pass the tee on the inside. This simple exercise can help you develop a more consistent and effective swing path.
This great drill may take some time to perfect, and you may hit some poor shots as you work on it, but keep practicing.
4. Sliding into the ball to target line
Yet another possible cause of a shank shot is related to the lower body’s movement during the downswing. If your knees tend to slide towards the target, it can cause the hosel (the part of the clubhead where the shaft attaches) to lead, resulting in a shank shot.
Pay attention to the movement of your lower body during your swing to help prevent this issue.
How to fix: To practice stabilizing your lower body during the swing, try placing your golf bag next to your left hip at the address.
As you begin the downswing, your hips should gently contact the bag. Then your lower body should turn without sliding toward the target.
If you find that you are making strong contact with the bag and causing it to almost fall over, focus on maintaining stability in your lower body. This drill can help you develop better control and consistency in your swing.
While fixing a golf shank may take some time and practice, it is possible with the right techniques and drills. It is important to be patient and consistent with practice, as it can take time to see improvement. With the right mindset and dedication, any golfer can improve their shank and take their game to the next level.
What is the difference between a shank and a slice in golf?
A shank occurs when the club’s hosel is the first to make contact with the ball, resulting in a shot that veers drastically right, left, or straight toward the player. A slice is when the ball curves away from the player due to an out-to-in swing path. Both shots can be improved by working on one’s golf mechanics, such as grip pressure and swing path.
Is a shank close to a good shot?
No, a shank is far from a good shot. It can also be one of the most challenging shots to correct due to the drastic changes in the ball flight it creates. If a player is consistently shanking the ball, they must figure out what could be causing them to hit the hosel first and work on correcting that issue.