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Newsletter September 2016


Yesterday was my regular day to play competitive golf. On the sixth hole, a 109-yard par three hole, I shanked my iron shot into the creek paralleling the fairway to the right. This shot has popped up at unexpected times in my golf game for years. I thought I had learned how to correct this faulty swing. When I teed up my second ball, I again shanked it into the water, proving me wrong. 

I have been told many times that a shank is very close to a perfect shot since it is hit less than an inch away from the sweet spot. The feeling of shock that surged through my body denied that. Hitting a pure shot is a much, much different awesome feeling. Shanking is a very emotional experience that destroys confidence to hit another ball. The players in my foursome also felt the distress as their silence was deafening.   

A shank is a ball that is hit on the hosel or neck of the club instead of the club face. The hosel is the part of the club where the shaft connects to the clubhead. When the ball is struck on the hosel, your hands get further away than they did at address, and the ball takes off at a distinct right angle.

There are as many physical solutions to the shank as there are to the yips. But there is no denying the feeling of lost confidence that occurs for everyone. To correct the faulty swing, it is necessary to regain confidence by restoring your rhythm and visualizing hitting on the toe of the club.

What I have learned about recovering from a shank includes:

  • Do not rush into hitting another shot. Without relaxing the mind and body, the shank shot will be repeated.
  • Check body alignment and posture. A shank can be caused by standing too close to the ball causing the hosel to move right into the ball.
  • Release tension in hands and arms. Holding on to the club tightly will move the hands too far forward in the downswing, making the clubhead slide into the ball instead of allowing it to square up. 
  • Practice the rhythm. To regain confidence I practice hitting iron shots with the proper alignment until I can feel my hips moving through, hands releasing, and the clubface squaring up at impact.
  • Correct the swing. Using slow motion video will show whether you have an extreme inside-out or over-the top swing path causing the shank. For me the shank is caused by taking an inside-out swing at the ball. I retrained my mind and muscles by standing against a wall and swinging a club. If the club hit the wall, I was taking the club too far inside making it impossible to square up the clubface.

Even some of the best tour professionals have shanked a shot in competition. They don’t let it cause a nervous reaction or loss of confidence and concentration. While it is embarrassing, they forget the shank and focus their attention on putting their best swing on the next shot.

 Play “in the zone” With Joan

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