One of the worst golf shots that creeps up on you is the shank. It occurs when your golf club moves closer to the golf ball than where it started, causing you to hit the ball off the hosel instead of the clubface.
The shanks are most common on chip shots. Golfers have a tendency to swing their wedge to the inside, while leaving the face open to impart spin on the golf ball and lofting it up into the air.
But the downside to this chip shot technique, is leading with the hosel of the wedge and shanking the chip shot.
The result of a shank golf shot is the ball heading to the right at a 45 to 90 degree angle without going very far distance wise. When it happens around the greens it often ends up burying into a bunker or thick rough instead of your intended goal of chipping onto the green.
But don’t worry, today I’ve got several tips for how you can fix the shanks.
And when you’re done, you should check out this golf training program we created to help golfers improve in all areas including a tour level short game!
Why Do Shanks Happen?
The 3 major causes of shanks include:
- Poor setup at address
- Improper weight shift / loss of body posture
- Clubhead gets ahead of the hands in the hitting zone
Shanking Fixes for Beginner Golfers
#1: Check Your Set Up
If you set up too close to the golf ball, your arms don’t have enough room to move away from the ball on the takeaway and can result in your swing path getting off line. This often leads to a golfer developing a severe outside to inside swing path.
If you set up too far away from the ball, you could have a severe inside to outside swing path causing the shank as well.
The ideal position is having your arms hang straight down from your shoulders. This should give your hands enough space away from your body and not too much that you feel overextended, which can also lead to the next fault discussed: moving your weight onto your toes during the swing.
#2: Weight Shift
Another cause of the shank is moving your weight during the chip shot or improper weight shift during a full golf swing with irons / driver. Many beginner golfers have a tendency to lean forward towards the golf ball, shifting their weight onto their toes. This moves the body closer to the ball resulting in a shank.
For chip shots, try to keep your weight steady and ideally you want more weight on your lead leg than your back leg.
As far as how weight should feel on your feet, you don’t want to be sitting back on your heels nor forward on your toes. Find the happy medium where you start to feel a little pressure on the balls of your feet but not leaning forward onto your toes.
Taking a wider stance can help you build stability so your weight doesn’t interfere with the chip shot and cause the dreaded shank.
If a golfer releases the hands too early, the club head gets ahead of the hands at impact causing a scooped golf shot. This scooping action through the hitting zone often involves the hosel and can result in shanking.
To fix scooping, try weakening your trail hand grip pressure. This will help your leading hand be more dominant and able to maintain the forward shaft lean on chip shots that helps keep the hands ahead of the clubface through the hitting zone.