I’m reluctant to even say the “S” word, because every golfer knows how contagious a shank can be. Once you shank one shot the negative thoughts creep into your mind. Before you know it you are shanking everything from your putter to your driver. Well, hopefully it’s not that bad, but lets take a look at some common causes of shanking the golf ball.
A shank occurs when the ball hits the hosel of the golf club and shoots off to the right (for a right handed golfer). You are looking to make contact in the sweet spot or center of the clubface.
Stand farther away at address. By standing farther away at address, hopefully you will give your arms more room to swing past your body. Moving back could change impact from the hosel to the center of the club.
Swing the hands and arms closer to your body at impact. Amateurs sometimes extend the arms and hands out at impact. If the hands and arms are extending a few inches out at impact the clubface will be moving out a few inches. That could move contact from the center of the clubface to the hosel.
Maintain better balance throughout the swing. Again, this relates to falling into the ball. Make sure you stay off your toes as you swing into impact. In addition, make sure the upper body and head do not fall into the ball. The swing should be a rotational movement around your fixed spine angle. Maintain your spine angle throughout the swing.
Negative thoughts quickly enter your mind as you start shanking the ball. You go through a checklist of everything that could cause the shank. Return to a solid pre shot routine and positive mental image. Do not start over thinking why you are shanking the ball. This will lead to hesitation and poor swings. Amateurs often decelerate into shots leading to more shanks. Focus on maintaining the spine angle and follow through. Accelerate through and hold a solid finish. Exaggerate the finish and hold a good finish position for an extra second. Hold the finish long enough someone could take your picture.
Cutting across the ball can also lead to a shank. This is known as an outside to inside swing path. The Inside Approach is an effective tool to fix the outside to inside swing path. A less expensive way is to place a piece of wood 4 inches to the outside of the golf ball. Swing without hitting the piece of wood. Both of these methods will help teach you the correct swing and steer you away from the outside to inside swing path.
There is nothing more frustrating than shanking the ball. This should give you an idea of what causes the shank and a few solutions the next time a shank sneaks up on you.