Understanding The Dreaded Golf Shank

What is a Golf Shank?

In simple terms, a shank occurs when the ball hits the hosel, the part of the club where the shaft meets the clubhead. Instead of traveling in the intended direction, the ball shoots off dramatically sideways. This can be particularly embarrassing and frustrating, often leading golfers to question their swing mechanics and mental focus.


1. Poor Setup and Alignment

Your initial setup can be a significant factor. Standing too close or too far from the ball, or having an improper stance, can lead to shanks. Ensure your feet, hips, and shoulders are properly aligned and your distance from the ball is consistent.


An outside-to-inside swing path often results in the club’s hosel making contact with the ball. Focus on maintaining an inside-to-out swing path to help guide the clubface squarely to the ball.

3. Grip Pressure

Gripping the club too tightly can restrict the natural movement of your hands and arms. This tension can cause the clubface to open up or the swing path to alter, leading to a shank. Aim for a relaxed, but firm, grip.


Shifting your weight improperly during the swing can push your hands and the club out of position. Ensure that your weight transfer is smooth and balanced, moving from your back foot to your front foot through the swing.


Standing up or moving your hips towards the ball during your downswing can cause the clubhead to move away from the correct path. Focus on maintaining your posture throughout the swing to avoid this common error.


Sometimes, the shank can be psychological. Worrying about shanking the ball can create tension and lead to mistakes. Practice visualization and stay positive to help maintain confidence during your swing.

Overcoming the Shank
To conquer the shank, it’s essential to diagnose which of these issues is affecting your swing. Here are a few tips to help you get back on track:

Check Your Setup: Take a moment to review your stance, grip, and alignment before each shot.
Practice Swing Paths: Use drills that encourage an inside-to-out swing path.
Relax: Keep your grip and posture relaxed to allow for a natural swing motion.
Video Analysis: Recording your swing can help you spot errors you might not feel or see otherwise.