Common Causes of a Shank in Golf

Golf can be an incredibly frustrating game, especially when you consistently hit a shank. The shank, also known as a lateral shot, is when the ball strikes the hosel of the club and veers off sharply to the right (for a right-handed golfer). This can be a disheartening shot to hit, but understanding the common causes can help you fix it. Let's take a look:

  • Standing Too Close to the Ball: One of the main causes of a shank is standing too close to the ball. This can cause the club to approach the ball from an inside-out angle, leading to a shank. To fix this, try taking a step back from the ball and adjusting your stance to ensure you have enough space to swing the club freely.
  • Poor Weight Distribution: Another common cause of a shank is poor weight distribution. If your weight is too much on your toes or on your heels, it can cause the club to swing off-plane, resulting in a shank. Focus on maintaining a balanced stance with your weight evenly distributed between your feet to avoid this issue.
  • Gripping the Club Too Tightly: Gripping the club too tightly can restrict your swing and make it difficult to square the clubface at impact. When the clubface is open at impact, it increases the chances of hitting a shank. Loosen your grip and allow your hands to be more relaxed, which will help you have better control over the clubface.
  • Swinging Too Much from the Inside: Swinging too much from the inside, or having a steep swing path, can lead to shanks. This can be caused by an over-the-top motion, where the club moves over the correct swing plane. Work on maintaining a more on-plane swing to avoid hitting the hosel.
  • Lack of Clubface Awareness: Many golfers struggle with clubface awareness, which can lead to shanks. Pay attention to the position of your clubface throughout the swing and make sure it remains square to the target line. This will help you strike the ball cleanly and avoid shanking it.

How to Fix the Shank:

  • Practice with Alignment Aids: Use alignment aids such as alignment sticks or a training club to ensure your setup is correct. These tools can help you position your body and club in the right way to avoid shanking the ball.
  • Focus on the Clubface: Spend time at the driving range focusing on your clubface position at impact. Practice hitting balls while paying close attention to the squareness of your clubface. This will help train your muscles to consistently strike the ball in the center of the clubface.
  • Relax Your Grip: Loosen your grip to allow for a more natural and fluid swing. A relaxed grip will help prevent the clubface from twisting during impact and reduce the likelihood of hitting a shank.
  • Work with a Golf Instructor: If you continue to struggle with shanks, consider working with a golf instructor who can provide personalized guidance. They will be able to analyze your swing and identify any specific faults or tendencies that may be causing the shanks. They can then provide you with drills and techniques to help eliminate them from your game.
  • Stay Positive and Patient: Finally, it's important to stay positive and patient when trying to fix the shank. It can be a frustrating problem to overcome, but with practice and persistence, you can eliminate the shanks and improve your golf game.

By understanding the common causes of a shank and implementing these fixes, you'll be on your way to hitting more accurate and enjoyable golf shots.