What Does The Shanks Mean In Golf?

Do you ever watch the golf pros on TV and wonder if you could ever play as well as them?

One of the most common mistakes that golfers make is shanking. But what does this mean?

A shank is when a golfer strikes the ball with the hosel of the club, resulting in a shot that goes off to the side instead of straight down the fairway.

It can be embarrassing and discouraging for any golfer, but don’t worry- it happens to all of us once in a while!

In this article, we’ll discuss what a shank is, why they happen, how to fix them and never shank again.

What Does The Shanks Mean In Golf
Photo Geoffrey Baker

What Is a Shank?

A shank is a dreaded shot in golf, and no golfer wants to experience it!

A shank occurs when the ball is hit too close to the hosel of the golf club. This results in an unintentional shot that causes the golf ball to veer off sharply to the right (for a right-handed golfer).

Some of the reasons for a shank

Why Do Golf Shanks Happen?

Have you ever wondered why your golf ball is suddenly flying off to the right side of the golf course? You’ve probably just hit a shank. Understanding what causes them can help you eliminate these round-destroying shots.

The root causes of a shank are usually one of the following:

  • standing too close to the ball
  • standing too far away from the ball
  • severe out-to-in swing path
  • severe in-to-out swing path
  • weight too much on the toes
  • losing balance through the swing
  • clubface too open at impact
  • clubface too closed at impact
  • straightening your arm too early

If you are unsure as to the reason why you’re shanking the ball then you might want to visit a PGA Professional who can give you the cause of your problem and suggest some drills to fix it.

There are few more dispiriting things in golf than a case of the shanks.

Eric Cogorno helps you with path

How To Cure The Shank Shot

Trying to avoid shanking the golf ball can seem like mission impossible if your golf swing is afflicted with the shanks, but understanding the causes should give you some ideas on how to fix your issues.

  1. Check that you are standing the correct distance from the ball. At address, you should have a hand width between the club and your thigh.
  2. Make sure your weight is more in the middle of your feet. If it’s too far forward then you are setting up to shank the ball.
  3. Check your swing path is fairly neutral.
  4. Maintain your balance through the shot.
  5. Make sure the club face is square at impact.

Tips And Drills to Cure The Shanks

If your problem is mainly to do with swing path then the best drills usually involve placing a physical barrier in the way to stop you from approaching the ball from the wrong position in the downswing.

If you have an out-to-in path place a range bucket of empty golf ball box just outside the line of the ball a few inches behind it. This will quickly give you feedback if you don’t move your swing to a more neutral path. A similar exercise will work if you are too much inside the line on the downswing. You should also work on your sequencing if you are prone to come over the top. This move is usually due to players wanting to hit the ball rather than swing the clubhead through the ball.

If your issue is to do with losing balance then work on your tempo using shorter swings at first to try and maintain your posture and balance.

Michael Breed on causes and cures

Slang Terms

Playing golf can be confusing at times, especially with all the slang terms used like ‘shank’ and ‘hosel’.

A shank is sometimes referred to as a hosel rocket, lucy locket or tommy tank. Peter Alliss used to call it the unmentionables! In fact, some golfers are almost superstitious about the word and don’t like other players in their group even mentioning it in case they “catch” this dreaded disease.

To find out the meaning of more golfing terminology check out this article.

Shank vs. Slice

Both shanks and slices refer to a mis-hit shot that deviates from the target line, but there are some key differences between them.

A shank is caused when a golfer makes contact with the ball too far on the heel side of the club’s face instead of making contact near the center. As a result, a shank typically causes the ball to squirt off to the right for a right-hander.

On the other hand, slicing occurs when a golfer has the clubface open to the swing path, causing it to curve away from its intended target line. To fix your slice check this post.

To avoid either mishit, focus on consistently making solid contact with your club at impact and ensuring that your club face is square to your target line before you start your backswing.

What Does The Shanks Mean In Golf: Conclusion

No one likes to shank a golf ball. It can be embarrassing and lead to frustration on the course. But now you know what a shank is, why it happens, how to fix it!

You can use these drills to ensure your golf swing is accurate and consistent during play. 

So don’t let those pesky shanks ruin your golf game; take control of your game today!

Do you know what WD means on a golf leaderboard?

Now you have fixed your swing how about a vacation to Big Cedar Lodge to play Payne’s Valley.

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