Understanding the Golf Shank: Causes and Cures

Date Published: 23/11/2023

Nothing can ruin a hole (and make your playing partners silently smirk) quite like a golf shank. You aim for the flag, take your swing, and the ball sets off at a 90-degree angle. 

To stop the shank, you first need to understand where your club is making contact with the ball.

What causes a golf shank?

In most cases the shank occurs when your weight is too far forward, causing you to lean on your toes. Because of this, the face of the golf club doesn’t make contact with the ball – the hosel does (the part of the club where the shaft meets the club head).

The golf shank cure

Follow these three steps and never shank a ball again:

Identify what is causing your golf shank

Step one: understand what kind of shank you have. The most common cause is a swing coming too far from the inside (where the club is too close to the body), or an overly-aggressive downswing.

You can use a golf analyser to help determine your swing path and see where you may be going wrong. While swinging, focus on keeping the club straight from back to follow through. This will help to avoid an out-to-in or in-to-out swing, a result of holding the club too close or far away from the body.

Take the corrective steps

Fixing a shank is a combination of the correct swing stance and the correct position of the club. If you know where you might be going wrong, pay attention to practising that. Otherwise, following the below steps may help to iron out anything causing your shank.

Fixing your stance:

  • Maintain the proper posture. Allow your arms to hang down, arch your back – not too bent nor straight – and keep your weight on the balls of your feet.
  • Keep a firm but light grip on your club and don’t flex your forearm muscles.
  • Try to adjust your balance throughout your swing. Begin with your front foot/back foot weight at 50 / 50, adjust to 60/40 at the top of your backswing, and aim for 90/10 as you hit the ball.

Fixing your swing:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, putting most of your weight on your lead foot.
  • Bring your backswing to the point where your lead arm is hip high. Check your club shaft – it should be parallel to the ground.
  • As your backswing reaches shoulder height, allow your wrists to rotate. Keep your arms and hands relaxed and avoid putting pressure on the shaft with your thumb.
  • Keep your swing smooth and your follow through consistent.

Build the correct habits

Start slowly when training to fix your stance and swing. By working your way up to a full swing, you ensure that you are keeping everything in the correct position every step of the way. Try to make the perfect swing a habit so that when you’re on the course, every shot goes exactly where you intend it.

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