The golf shank is probably the worst bad shot that a golfer can hit. There are plenty of different types of bad shots that can damage a score – a bad slice, an extreme hook, hitting the ground before the ball – the list goes on. The shank tops all of these, in my opinion. The shank occurs when the ball connects with the part of the club face where it meets the shaft – the hosel. This means that the ball will squirt off in an extreme right direction (for a right handed player). Because of the extreme nature of this type of shot, most of the time it will result in a lost ball. This means it is imperative for the golfer to eradicate the shank from his/her swing.
One of the main causes of the golf shank is that the club face is too open at the point of impact, and frequently this causes the point of impact to be the hosel. This can be due to a number of reasons, such as a weak grip (hands twisted too far to the left), bad posture, swing alignment, and even the position of the ball in the stance.
To fix a shank, try changing your grip so that it is more ‘strong’. This is when the left hand is more dominant than the right (for RH golfer), and encourages the clubface to be more square than open at the point of impact with the ball. To do this, grip the club as you normally would. Twist your grip in a clockwise way so that you can see three knuckles on your left hand. If the cause of your shank is a weak grip, this technique will help fix it.
Bad posture can cause a shank as this result in the golfer leaning too much on the heels or the toes. Because the golfer is then not properly balanced, during the course of the swing the weight can shift from toes to heels or vice versa. This can have the effect of compromising the swing plane in such a way that the hosel of the club makes contact with the ball at the point of impact, causing the shank. To fix this, focus on distributing your weight evenly across the centre of your feet as you address the ball. Good balance will mean the risk of the swing plane changing during the course of the swing is reduced.
The alignment of the body can also contribute to a shank. If the body is aiming too far left, this can result in the club head being open at impact, which can mean the ball strikes the hosel occasionally. Check your alignment by getting a friend to hold a golf club across your chest as you line up the shot. This will inform you as to the direction your body is aiming in, and it may be a more open stance than you think.
A shank is one of the most discouraging shots in golf, so hopefully the above tips can help you fix your own golf shank.