what causes a shank in golf

Discover What Causes a Shank in Golf and How to Avoid It!

Last Updated on October 26, 2023

Have you ever been on the golf course, taking a swing and watching in horror as your ball veers off to the side? You’ve just experienced what is known as a shank – one of the most frustrating experiences for any golfer. A shank occurs when your club head strikes near or even touches the hosel of your club, causing an errant shot. But why does this happen? What are some causes of a shank in golf, and how can it be avoided? In this blog post, we will discuss exactly that – exploring common causes behind shanking shots so you can avoid them with improved technique and practice drills.

Table of Contents:

What Is a Shank in Golf?

A shank is a type of golf shot that occurs when the ball is struck off-centre, resulting in an errant shot. It’s one of the most dreaded shots in golf and can be extremely frustrating for players. The word “shank” comes from the fact that it looks like you are hitting the ball with a metal tool, such as a hammer or chisel.

A shank is an unintentional strike on the hosel (the neck) of your club instead of its face, which causes your ball to veer sharply right (for right-handed players). This results in an unpredictable flight path and significantly reduced distance.

If you hit what feels like a solid shot but watch it curve drastically away from where you were aiming, then chances are you have just shanked it. Another telltale sign is if there was no divot left after impact. This indicates that you didn’t make contact with the centre of your clubface and likely resulted in a shank.

One common cause for hitting shanks is having too much weight on your back foot during your swing, causing you to pull up before impact rather than swinging through smoothly all the way until completion.

Key Takeaway: The key point from this article is that shanks are caused by incorrect mechanics during the swing, such as having too much weight on the back foot or gripping down too far. Other causes include using clubs with improper lie angles and misalignments at address position.

Improving Your Swing to Avoid Shanking

adult man playing golf

Golf is a game which needs precision and skill, so even the slightest misstep can cause your ball to go off course. One common mistake that many golfers make is shanking their shots. A shank occurs when the ball veers sharply to the right (for a right-handed golfer) due to an incorrect swing path or poor contact with the clubface. To avoid this embarrassing mishap, it’s important to understand what causes a shank and how you can improve your swing technique to prevent it from happening again.

Check Your Grip and Alignment

The grip you use on your club has a huge impact on where your ball will travel after you hit it. If you have too much tension in your hands or if they are not properly aligned, then there’s a good chance that you could end up hitting a shank instead of getting the desired result from each shot. Make sure that both hands are placed firmly but comfortably around the handle of the club and that they form an “L” shape with one another for optimal alignment before taking any swings at all.

Make Sure You Have the Right Club for the Shot

Another factor which can contribute towards causing a shank is using an inappropriate club for certain shots. If you find yourself consistently missing out on long drives because of wild slices, then try switching over to using either fairway woods or hybrids, as these clubs offer more forgiveness than drivers do when it comes to keeping control over directionality during full swings.

By making sure you have the right grip and alignment, selecting the proper club for your shot, and focusing on weight transfer during your swing, you can take steps to improve your golf game. With practice and dedication to these drills, you’ll be able to reduce shanking in no time.

Key Takeaway: To avoid shanking your shots, make sure you have the right grip and alignment on your club as well as use the appropriate club for each shot. Additionally, check that both hands are firmly but comfortably placed around the handle of the club in an “L” shape before taking any swings.

Practising Drills to Improve Your Swing and Avoid Shanking

standing person holding a golf club

Golf can be a tricky game to master, and even the most experienced players sometimes struggle with shanking. A shank is when you hit the ball off of the heel or toe of your club, causing it to fly off in an unintended direction. To avoid this frustrating occurrence, there are several drills that you can practice to improve your swing and keep your shots on target.

The Wall Drill is one way to help identify any issues with your swing plane. Stand facing a wall about arm’s length away and hold up a golf club, so its shaft is parallel with the ground. Take some practice swings while keeping contact between the wall and your hands throughout each swing motion. This will help you feel what it should feel like for proper hand position during a full swing shot.

The Towel Drill is an excellent way to ensure that your weight is properly distributed during both the backswing and downswing of your shot. Place a towel underneath both arms before taking practice swings without hitting any balls, and focus on feeling how evenly distributed your weight should be throughout each part of the motion while also making sure not to over-rotate at any point in time during either portion of the swing sequence.

The Hinge and Hold Drill is a great way to gain more control over where you make contact with the ball. To practice this drill, start by placing your left hand below your right elbow, then take two steps forward while maintaining grip pressure until reaching the desired distance from the tee box marker post. Then slowly bring your wrists up into a hinged position and pause briefly before releasing down onto the ball itself. This drill allows golfers greater accuracy and precision when attempting longer-range shots as they have a better understanding of how much power needs to be put behind their strokes based on the amount of wrist flexion used beforehand.

These drills are great ways to improve overall consistency in terms of where exactly you strike each shot along fairway turf surfaces. However, if all else fails, take a few deep breaths to relax mentally, allowing for easier concentration levels needed to hit successful long-distance drives.

Key Takeaway: Golfers can practice several drills to help improve their swing and avoid shanking, such as the Wall Drill, Towel Drill and Hinge and Hold Drill. Additionally, taking deep breaths before each shot can help relax the mind for improved concentration levels needed for successful long-distance drives.

Tips for Overcoming Mental Blocks That Lead to Shanking

Shanking is a common issue for golfers of all levels, and it can be incredibly frustrating. To help you overcome the mental blocks that lead to shanking, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Visualise Successful Shots Before You Take Them

Visualisation is an important part of any golfer’s game plan. Before taking each shot, take a few moments to close both your eyes and imagine yourself hitting the ball perfectly straight down the fairway or onto the green. This will help you focus on executing the shot correctly instead of worrying about what might happen if you don’t hit it right.

Focus on the Process, Not the Result of Each Shot

It will not be difficult to get caught up in trying to make every shot perfect, but this often leads to frustration when things don’t go as planned. Instead of focusing on results, concentrate on following through with good form and technique during each swing. If you do this consistently enough over time, your scores should improve naturally without having to worry about making every single shot count.

Golf can be mentally taxing at times, so it is important not to let your emotions get out of control while playing or practising shots around the course. If you start feeling frustrated after missing a few shots in a row or feel like shanking could become an issue again soon, take a timeout from playing for a few minutes before returning back out there refreshed and ready for success.

Key Takeaway: Shanking can be overcome by visualising successful shots, focusing on the process rather than results, and taking breaks when feeling frustrated.


Golf shanking is a frustrating issue that can cause a lot of trouble on the course. It’s important to understand what causes a shank in golf and how to avoid it by improving your swing, practising drills, and overcoming mental blocks. With some practice and patience, you can reduce or even eliminate shanking from your game altogether. Remember: with the right technique and attitude, there are no limits when mastering this difficult shot – so don’t let yourself get discouraged if you experience a few hiccups along the way.

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