As golfers, we have all struggled with golf shanks at some point. A golf shank, also known as a hosel rocket, is one of the most frustrating and common problems golfers face. They can be an embarrassing and demoralizing experience for any golfer, from beginners to professionals.
Shanks are caused by various factors, such as:
Swing path problems
Incorrect weight distribution
This article will explore the above causes of golf shanks and provide some tips on avoiding them.
If you have any questions about golf shanks, let us know below!
What is a Golf Shank?
A golf shank is when the ball hits the hosel of the golf club instead of the clubface, causing the ball to veer off its intended line. It is quite an embarrassing shot that can damage a golfer’s confidence and ruin rounds.
Most golfers, if not all, have hit a shank at one point in their playing career. Even professional golfers who put countless hours of practice into the sport will shank the golf ball now and then. Making sure it doesn’t become a habit is the hard part.
A shank can be quite destructive and quickly ruin a player’s performance. Golf is a mental sport. If you hit a few bad shots in a row, it can completely derail your round and add numbers to the scorecard.
We will review the most common causes of a golf shank and different ways to combat those to ensure you play a clean round.
Common Causes of a Golf Shank
Incorrect Stance and Posture
One of the biggest causes of a golf shank is having an incorrect stance and posture. If you stand too close or far from the ball, you don’t give yourself enough room to complete your swing, which can cause a shank.
The same goes for your posture.
If you stand too upright at address, you don’t allow yourself a proper weight transfer for your swing. This means you are using all arms for your swing and can cause the ball to go off the target line.
Ensuring your stance and posture are good before you begin your golf swing is essential. These are the first things to do before you hit the ball off the ground, so if those are correct, it gives you a better chance at hitting a consistent shot on the clubface.
Having a proper stance and posture at address allows for a shallower angle of attack and a wider swing path, essential in making solid contact on the golf ball.
A proper grip is crucial in golf as it affects the direction and distance of the ball. Holding the club too tight can cause tension in the arms and hands, leading to poor swing mechanics and shanking the ball.
On the other hand, having the club too loosely can cause the clubface to twist, resulting in a slice or hook.
To avoid shanking, it is essential to maintain a relaxed grip and ensure the clubface is square to the target at impact. Golfers can practice their grip by holding the club with the fingers and not the palms, keeping the thumbs straight down the shaft, and placing the hands in a neutral position.
There are also different training aids available to purchase to see if you are hitting the ball with a square clubface. An impact bag is excellent for determining how you are hitting the ball. You may have a weak or strong grip if you are constantly shanking the golf ball.
Try a more neutral grip to keep the clubface square.
Swing Path Problems
The swing path is the direction that the club head travels during the swing. An incorrect swing path can cause the club head to approach the ball from the wrong angle, resulting in a shank.
A correct swing path will allow the clubhead to approach the ball from the inside, creating a square clubface at impact and a straight ball flight.
A narrow swing is one of the biggest swing path problems that cause a shank. We must widen our stance and stand further from the ball to correct this.
Next, you need to remember to swing wide right from our takeaway. The best way to achieve this is to keep the left arm (right arm for right-handed golfers) as straight as possible during the backswing. This ensures a full arc when you begin your downswing.
Maintaining a proper swing path to avoid shanking is crucial by keeping the club head on the correct plane and staying connected to the body throughout the swing. This can be achieved through proper training, practice, and focusing on technique.
Having a clubface that is not square at impact can cause a shank. There are many reasons why your clubface could be more square at impact, including improper grip, stance, and swing path. Once you have all these pieces of your swing down pact, you will find yourself hitting a more consistent golf shot.
The best practice for clubface misalignment is to practice your entire golf swing first. If you fight five other errors during your golf swing, there is no point in trying to have the clubface square at impact.
Most golfers, especially tour pros, practice at the driving range for multiple hours daily, working on their swing. This ensures that their swing is working in unison with one another.
Once your swing looks good, we can see how your clubface hits the ball and see if anything needs to be adjusted.
Inadequate Body Weight Distribution
Having your body weight evenly distributed is very important to a fluid golf swing and to ensure you don’t shank the golf ball. Once you develop a consistent swing tempo with proper distribution, the clubface should smoothly strike the ball.
If a golfer’s weight is not evenly distributed in their feet during the swing, they may lean too far forward, causing them to hit the ball on the hosel instead of the clubface.
Also, if you don’t distribute your body weight and instead only use your arms to swing, your tempo will be thrown off, as well as your swing path. This will ensure that your clubface is not square at impact and can make you shank the ball.
How To Fix Golf Shanks: Techniques and Drills
Analyze and Record Your Swing
Recording your golf swing is a great way to practice and improve your game. It allows you to analyze your swing in slow motion and diagnose the specific cause of the shank by seeing where the hosel is lagging or where your hands are moving too far away from the body.
The Flightscope Mevo is a great swing analyzer and launch monitor that records your video.
A tripod or other device is recommended to keep your phone steady while recording. There are two methods for recording your swing, down the line and face on the front angle, and both require alignment sticks to ensure proper setup. By recording and analyzing your swing, you can work on correcting your weight distribution and other swing issues and prevent shanking the ball.
Better players will always record their golf swing on the driving range so they can go back with a professional or their coach and analyze exactly where the issues are. The same works for amateur golfers and will help you focus on what you need to do better for your golf game.
Stance and Posture Adjustments
Check your stance to ensure you aren’t standing too close or far away from the ball. A good rule of thumb is to take your hands and drop them to your side. Straighten them out and have them sitting underneath your chin with the club. This should allow for a proper swing.
Make sure your posture isn’t too upright or crouched over. You should be standing shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Your back shouldn’t be too straight up, but ensure you aren’t crouched over the ball. Poor posture is one of the main reasons we shank the golf ball.
Perform Drills for Stance and Posture
Here are a few simple drills that I really like to help you minimize how much you shank the golf ball.
Grip Improvement Techniques
The grip is a crucial aspect of the golf swing, and improper grip pressure or hand placement can contribute to shanking the golf ball. One grip-related fix is to ensure that your grip pressure is not too tight, which can cause tension in your hands and wrists and lead to a shank.
Another fix is to check that your hands are placed correctly on the club, with the club’s grip running diagonally across the fingers of your left hand (for right-handed golfers) and your right hand under your left.
A great drill that you can do at home is to take your lead hand and grip the golf club. You then want to place your trail hand on top of the shaft, only putting pressure on the club but not gripping it. Take some swings and see how stable the club feels. This will help you determine whether a weak, neutral, or firm grip suits your swing.
Swing Path Corrections
To correct swing path issues and avoid shanking the golf ball, one needs to steepen the downswing and move the path so that it is less in-to-out, as an in-to-out swing can cause the ball to hit the hosel of the club instead of the club face.
Your stance, swing path, and posture go hand-in-hand when shanking the golf ball. If one isn’t working, it will throw everything off, leading to more shanks. Once these all work fluidly, you will be hitting better golf shots.
To correct your swing path, you want to ensure a wide takeaway. Your right arm (for a right-handed player) should stick tight to your side with your left arm as straight as possible. Your body weight should evenly distribute through the entire swing as well.
great drills for correcting the swing path
Clubface Alignment Fixes
Depending on how your clubface is striking the ball will let you know steps that you need to take to ensure that it stops happening. Your grip is the number one thing controlling your clubface throughout the entire swing.
The best drill for improving your clubface alignment is the impact bag drill. It requires purchasing an impact bag and using it on the driving range. It is an oversized pillow that you place on the ground in place of a ball and swing your club into it. The bag will then show you how your clubface is striking the bag.
Based on your clubface at impact, you can determine if you need to switch up your grip to ensure square impact.
Adjusting Body Weight Distribution
Proper weight distribution is crucial to a successful golf swing. The standard golf swing requires weight evenly distributed along both feet at address.
You should not sit back on your heels; you should apply pressure to the balls of the feet for better balance. That pressure should then be shifted throughout the swing to achieve a 60/40 split at the address position, a shift towards the trail foot at the top of the backswing, and a shift back towards the lead foot at impact.
Following through at impact with your body weight will ensure clean contact through the ball. As long as the rest of the swing is working and your clubface is square, you should have solid contact on the ball.
great drills for weight transfer
Bouncing Back After a Shank
Shanking the golf ball can be embarrassing and frustrating and psychologically impact all golfers. Golf is a mental game, so if your head isn’t in it or you overthink, you tend to overcompensate your actions.
If you feel your stance, grip, and swing are all working, you might need to step back and relax. Everyone has bad days on the golf course, including PGA Pros like Ian Poulter. How you respond to those bad days will make you a better player.
Head to the range, record your swing and see if you can pinpoint where the issues are. Practice makes perfect, which should have you back playing great and hitting the perfect shot in no time.