Shanking is common in the sport of golf. It is most common amongst novices, beginners, and intermediates. Getting out on the course with friends can be fun, but regularly shanking in golf can drain all the good times away. For this reason, all types of golfer should do everything possible to make dang sure that they don’t shank!
In this article we will be discussing everything related to shanking; from what it is to what causes it and finally how to avoid it. By the end of this article you’ll have a handful of drills and the swing knowledge to finally put a stop to the shanks for good,
What Is Shanking In Golf?
Shanking is a phenomenon that occurs when the clubhead doesn’t connect with the ball solidly. Instead the clubhead will hit towards the heel of the club which results in a dribbled shot. Most of the time it occurs when the golfer strikes the ball with the hosel of the club, this is the part that connects the club head to the shaft. As you’d expect, no one expects to shank. It can happen anytime.
What Causes Shanking In Golf?
There is a myriad of reasons as to why a golfer may shank the round. Lets look at a few.
Positioning Of The Ball
It is paramount that the golfer makes sure that the golf ball is in the right distance away. Too close and the golfer loses the spine angle during the downswing and hits a shank. Additionally, if the ball is placed too far away there can be some overcompensation in your swing which can cause more problems.
Check out this video on where exactly your ball positioning should be.
If you don’t grip the club with the right amount of pressure, it will move when swinging it. Even if you have aimed at the golf ball perfectly, chances are that the movement of the club will result in a shank. For more on how to grip the club properly check out this video below.
The swing path is often the reason why golfers shank the ball. The ideal swing path comes from the inside to outside the ball to the target line, and most golfers know this. For one reason or the other, you may find that the swing path isn’t as accurate. Here is a 6 minute video on how to fix your swing plane.
Sliding During Your Downswing
Lowering your body during the downswing is also another cause of golf shanking. The lower body slide as the ball is stuck will lead the hosel into the ball, which will make another dreaded shank. Watch this video to improve your balance in the swing.
What Are Some Drills To Help Prevent Shanking?
The good thing about shaking is that it can be remedied through regular exercises and drills. Some of them include:
Non-Dominant Hand Only Drill
One of the most effective drills is to practice taking swings using your non-dominant hand only. This way, you will be able to practice making contact between the ball and the clubface more effectively. If your right hand is dominant, then practice the swings using your left hand, and vice versa.
Most golfers starting out want to use there dominant hand to crush the ball. This in fact makes the swing worse and causes an out to in swing. The swing is typically more efficient when the non-dominant hand is mostly used. Check out this video to get a better understanding and some drills to use.
Practice The Spine Turn
If you change the spine angle too early, it may result in a shanked shoot. By keeping a consistent spine angle towards the golf ball, without popping up at impact, you’ll have a better chance of squaring up the ball at impact every time.
Check out this video on why spine angle affects your golf swing and how to hit more consistent shots.
Shanking Prevention Checklist
You can do several things before you take a swing to prevent and avoid shanking your shot. Some of them are the basics of golf, but doing them in the right manner goes a long way in ensuring that you make effective contact with the ball. Keep in mind this checklist at your next practice session:
- Place the ball the right distance away from the body.
- Position your stance centered with the golf ball for higher irons.
- Position your stance with the ball more towards your leading foot for lower irons, woods, and driver.
- Make sure your club head is square at address.
- Ensure that you grip the golf club is tighter in your your non-dominant hand than your dominant and you have a proper grip.
- Have the correct spine angle in your stance.
- In the back swing focus on your balance with more pressure on your back heal going into the ground. DO NOT LEAN FORWARD OR TOWARD YOUR TARGET!
- Keep your spine angle through impact while shifting your weight to your front foot.
Have you had the shanks before? What helps you have better rounds without shanks?