How to Cure the Shanks

By Steve Silverman

golfer backswing
Mention the word "shank" in any golf locker room and listen to the conversation come to a stop. No golfer likes to hear the word because a shank is the worst shot in golf. Instead of hitting the ball squarely, the ball hits the area of the club where the bottom of the shaft (called the hosel) meets the face. The ball shoots out to the right.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
  1. Calm down when you step up to the tee. Many times you will be anxious when you step up to the tee and in a hurry to hit the ball. In your haste you many not turn your hips fully and the face of the club is not in the proper position when impact is made. Slow your swing down to prevent this.
  2. Square yourself to your target when you address the ball. On a normal shot (as opposed to a fade or draw), your left shoulder should be facing the green and your left foot should be directly underneath. Make sure you are aligned correctly.
  3. Check your grip pressure. You should be squeezing your club at about a "5" on a scale of 1 to 10. If you hold it looser than that, there is a chance the club could slip in your hands and you could shank the ball. Don't choke the club too tight, but don't let it slip either.
  4. Slow your swing down. As you finish your backswing, your first thought should be turning your hips to the left to trigger your swing. If you don't turn your hips first, your hands will not come though at the correct angel and you could shank the ball.
  5. Finish your swing with your head down. Many golfers are in a hurry to see their ball fly down the fairway so they pick their heads up in the middle. Keep your head down and try to watch your club head make contact with the middle of the ball. Don't pick your head up until your club has reached waist-level on your follow through.

Tips & Warnings

  • Go to the driving range and practice reguarly. This will tend to get rid of anxiety when you are on the tee or fairway.

About the Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.