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HowThe shanked shot is very distinctive, shooting off to the right normally into trouble but always leaving a horrible impression on the golfer.

Its such a terrible shot because there is almost no chance the ball will finish in a safe area and because the shank is very mentally destructive. It is quite common that if a player hits a shank it will affect them for the rest of the round or even that month, so horrible is the feeling!

To check if you are hitting the shank, the first place to check is the club hosel. The hosel is the curved part of the club head into which the club shaft is fitted. The hosel or shank becomes more exaggerated the higher loft the iron has because of the way the club face is set back. This means a shank is more likely with the shorter irons and wedges. If you suspect you are hitting a shank the ball will normally leave a mark on the hosel. When practicing, a great way to see where the ball is contacting the club head is to dust the balls with talcum powder. As the balls are struck they will leave a residue on the club and show accurately where the ball is being hit. If the mark on the club head is from the heel and the ball flies off sharply to the right then you will have hit a shank.

Normally, when players hit a shank, the club will travel into the ball on a very exaggerated inside to out or outside to in club path. In both circumstances, the heel reaches the ball first. To change your swing path, practice this drill.

  • With a wedge or short iron, set up a golf ball ensuring you are standing far enough away from the ball
  • Place a plastic cup, bottle or something which wont be damaged just outside the toe of the club
  • Hit shots avoiding the object on the outside of the ball. By hitting shots in this way golfers will groove a better swing path through the ball

Hitting a shank is a nasty feeling and can be confirmed by checking the club face for marks.

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The shanked ball flight is quite distinctive and will fly aggressively right for a right handed golfer. However, it is possible for players to hit the ball right with a very open club face. Ensure you know where on the club face the ball is being hit from.

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Golfers hitting a shank find it hard to explain the hollow hideous nature of what it feels like. A horrible shudder or vibration could be caused by an off centre hit from any part of the club.

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A shanked shot will most likely fly lower than normal but should rise into the air. However, if the shank is achieved with a low lofted club the ball will travel quite low.