How to Stop Shanking the Golf Ball

Shanking the golf ball can be one of the most frustrating experiences for a golfer. It happens when the ball hits the hosel of the club, sending it off in a completely unintended direction. However, with a few simple adjustments, you can eliminate this problem and improve your game. Here are some tips on how to stop shanking the golf ball:

  1. Check your setup: The first thing you need to do is check your setup. Make sure your feet, hips, and shoulders are aligned properly. If your stance is too narrow or too wide, it can affect your balance, making it more difficult to hit the ball in the sweet spot . Ensure that your weight is evenly distributed on both feet.
  2. Adjust your grip: Your grip can also play a significant role in shanking the ball. A grip that’s too strong can cause you to hit the ball with the heel of the club, resulting in a shank. Try loosening your grip slightly to prevent this from happening.
  3. Keep your head steady: During your swing, it’s important to keep your head still. Moving your head up and down or side to side can cause your swing to be off-balance, leading to shanking the ball. Focus on keeping your head in one place throughout your swing.
  4. Practice with a towel or headcover: One effective way to stop shanking the ball is to practice hitting with a towel or headcover placed just outside the ball. This helps to prevent you from hitting the ball too far on the inside, which can lead to a shank.
  5. Focus on your ball position: The position of the ball in your stance can also affect your swing. If you’re consistently shanking the ball, try moving the ball slightly back in your stance. This can help you hit the ball more in the center of the clubface.
  6. Take lessons: If you’ve tried all of these adjustments and still can’t seem to stop shanking the ball, consider taking lessons from a golf professional. They can help you identify the root cause of your problem and provide you with specific drills to improve your swing.
  7. Use a shorter backswing: An overly long backswing can lead to shanking the ball. Try shortening your backswing and focusing on a smoother, more controlled swing. This can help you hit the ball in the center of the clubface and avoid hitting the hosel.
  8. Slow down your swing: Another common cause of shanking the ball is swinging too quickly. Try slowing down your swing and focusing on a smooth, fluid motion. This can help you maintain better control over the clubhead and hit the ball more consistently.
  9. Use a different club: If you’re consistently shanking the ball with a particular club, try switching to a different one. Sometimes a different club can provide a better feel and help you hit the ball more consistently.
  10. Relax and stay focused: Finally, it’s important to stay relaxed and focused during your swing. Shanking the ball can be a frustrating experience, but getting frustrated or tense will only make it worse. Take a deep breath, relax your muscles, and stay focused on the shot at hand.
  11. Practice with a mirror: Practicing in front of a mirror can help you identify flaws in your swing that may be causing you to shank the ball. Set up a mirror next to you and take a few practice swings, paying close attention to your body position, head movement, and swing path. This can help you make the necessary adjustments to improve your swing and avoid shanking the ball.
  12. Visualize your shots: Visualization is a powerful tool that can help you improve your golf game. Before each shot, take a moment to visualize the ball flying straight and true towards your target. This can help you focus your mind and body and make a more controlled, accurate swing.
  13. Get in better shape: Being physically fit and flexible can help you avoid shanking the ball. Regular exercise and stretching can improve your balance, coordination, and range of motion, making it easier to maintain a proper swing and hit the ball in the sweet spot.
  14. Play more often: Like any skill, golf requires practice to improve. The more often you play, the more comfortable you will become with your swing and the less likely you will be to shank the ball. Try to play as often as possible, even if it’s just a few holes after work or on the weekends.
  15. Don’t be too hard on yourself: Finally, it’s important to remember that golf is a challenging game, and shanking the ball is a common problem that even the best golfers experience from time to time. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you shank a shot or two – just focus on making the necessary adjustments and enjoy the game.

In conclusion, shanking the golf ball can be a frustrating and discouraging experience, but with practice and patience, you can overcome this problem and improve your game. By making adjustments to your setup, grip, swing, and mindset, practicing with a mirror, visualizing your shots, getting in better shape, playing more often, and maintaining a positive attitude, you can become a better golfer and enjoy the game even more.

Common Causes of Shanking in Golf

Open club faceClub face is pointing right, towards the targetSquare the clubface at address and impactPlace an object such as a tee on the toe of the clubHitting a shank from the fairway or rough
Early releaseHands and wrists release the club too soonDelay the release of the clubPractice making half swingsShank on full swings
Over the topDownswing path is too steep and outside-inSwing on a more inside-out pathPlace a ball or tee outside the target lineShank off the tee or with short irons
Standing too close to the ballAddress position is too close to the ballMove away from the ball at addressTake a step back from the ball at addressShank on short irons
Tension in grip and armsGrip and arms are tense and rigid during the swingRelax the grip and armsPractice swinging with a lighter gripShank with all clubs

Recommended Drills to Stop Shanking in Golf

Towel drillPlace a towel under your arms to restrict arm movementPromotes a more compact and controlled swingHelps prevent early release and over the top swing
Alignment stick drillPlace an alignment stick outside your target lineHelps you swing on an inside-out pathHelps prevent over the top swing
Impact bag drillStrike an impact bag with a mid-ironHelps promote a proper impact positionHelps prevent shanking and fat shots
3 o’clock/9 o’clock drillSwing the club to the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positionsHelps promote a more compact and controlled swingHelps prevent shanking on short shots
Gate drillPlace two tees outside your target lineHelps promote a proper swing pathHelps prevent over the top swing

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Trying to Stop Shanking in Golf

Focusing too much on the shankConstantly thinking about the shank can create anxietyLeads to tension and inconsistent swingsFocus on the process and not the result
Trying to fix the shank mid-roundTrying to make swing changes during a round can be difficultCan lead to further frustration and poor playFocus on the fix during practice
Not practicing enoughTrying to fix a problem without proper practice can be ineffectiveLeads to slow progress and inconsistent playMake time for dedicated practice sessions
OverthinkingAnalyzing too many swing thoughts can be overwhelmingCan lead to poor swing mechanics and inconsistent playFocus on one or two swing thoughts
Not seeking professional helpSome swing faults require professional guidanceMay lead to further frustration and poor playSeek out a qualified instructor

Equipment Adjustments to Stop Shanking in Golf

Club fittingEnsuring that your clubs are properly fit to your swingHelps promote consistent ball strikingGet fitted for the correct shaft and clubhead combination
Grip sizeAdjusting the size of your grip to fit your handsHelps promote a comfortable and secure gripExperiment with different grip sizes to find the right fit
Club weightingAdjusting the weight distribution of your clubsHelps promote a more consistent swing pathAdd lead tape to adjust the club’s weight distribution
Loft and lie adjustmentsAdjusting the angle of your clubface and shaftHelps promote consistent ball flightGet your clubs checked and adjusted by a professional
Ball choiceChoosing a ball that suits your swing and playing styleHelps promote consistent ball flightExperiment with different ball types and find one that works for you


How to Stop Shanking the Golf Ball


  • Ray Barnes

    Ray Barnes, our Senior Staff Writer and a Golf Analyst with a PhD in Sports Analytics, is a beacon of insight in the golfing world. With a deep understanding of the sport's nuances, statistical analysis, and a talent for demystifying complexities, he provides in-depth analysis and captivating narratives that engage golf enthusiasts worldwide.

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