How To Cure The Shanks: An Instant Solution

Self doubt – questioning one’s own skill – can be a real confidence killer. Even a well seasoned player can succumb to this feeling after hitting a golf shank. Some players dread the shank so much that they call it the worst shot in the game. So, how to avoid this nightmare? Let’s find out.

What’s a shank and how is it caused?

A ball is shanked, when it is struck by the neck (hosel) of the iron instead of the clubface. The neck or hosel is the region of the iron where the shaft meets the clubface. And shanking is an imperfect shot, that’ll cause the ball to dart right.

Some common causes of golf shank are:

  • Excessive tension in the grip
  • Standing too close to the golf ball
  • If the body is off balance (i.e.) if you’re applying too much weight on the toes or heels in a downswing
  • Perhaps the key reason is having an outside-to-in swing hitting the ball hard with a closed clubface. This brings the neck closer to the ball, and when the neck catches the ball, it’s going to fly right of the target.

How to cure the shank?

  • The Shanker’s Delight
  • A simple solution to avoid shanking is to practice with a barrier – Dave Pelz of golf(dot)com calls it Shanker’s Delight. Place a barrier, either a pillow or cardboard box or any other soft vertical standing material at the toe end of the iron (at least 1/2inch beyond the toe) to physically prevent the club’s neck from hitting the ball.

    You won’t get it right the first few times, so begin with short swings. Practice hard until you learn to avoid the barrier with the short swing. Then slowly increase the swing length, and practice harder. Once you gain confidence, remove the physical barrier and replace it with an imaginary one. With enough practice, in no time, you’ll get good enough to hit a clean stroke with any type of barrier.

  • Grip the club right
  • According to Jeff Yurkiewicz, shanking is often caused by improper grip. He points out that shanking in right-handed players happens when only one knuckle is observable to the golfer (i.e.) the left hand is facing towards the left. Correct the grip by turning the left hand towards the right. This’ll put the clubface is the right position (i.e.) the square position, when the player hits the ball.

  • Swing the club inside out
  • Initiate the swing from inside and take it out. Make sure your feet are aligned parallel to the target line, and on the downswing the iron must strike the ball square on the clubface.

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