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Golf Lessons: How to Eliminate the Shanks from Your Game

When your club’s shank hits the ball, a myriad of different results could occur—and none of them good. Every golfer, whether amateur or professional, is constantly trying to hit the sweet spot of the ball on every stroke; but a shanked shot is as far from successfully doing so as you can get. There are four main errors you will need to address in order to prevent yourself from shanking the ball. Hire a bucket of balls at your nearest driving range and take note of the following during your practice shots.

Downswing errors

If you imagine a downswing, you can see in your mind’s eye how bringing the club down behind the ball will result in the shank hitting the ball instead of the clubface. When practicing your drills, stay conscious of how the club moves while in the air. If it comes too far under, a shank shot will be the result. This happens when your downswing is not consistent with your upswing, so correct this where appropriate.

Foot errors

Feet play an important part of any golf stroke. Take note of where your weight lies at the beginning of the shot. If it’s too far forward, that may be the reason you are shanking the ball. Weight should be evenly balanced across the whole of each foot to prevent you from moving too far forward when you swing the club down.

Swing power errors

You are likely to lose control of where you clubface connect with the ball if you are trying to hit the ball too hard. Aim for long, steady strokes as opposed to quick and hard ones. Distance isn’t achieved by a forceful swing, and besides: accuracy trumps distance more often than not. Shanks often hit the ball because of hard, impulsive swings.

Stance errors

It’s a given that standing too far away from your ball is a recipe for shanking it. Learn to gauge the correct amount of space between you and the ball so that your club doesn’t move forward when it comes down. You may find that your body moves into a default comfort position during your swing, making your setup stance a futile exercise.

Remember to implement these corrections on all your plays, including chipping, driving, iron play, and bunker play. Getting the feel for not shanking the ball in all circumstances will ensure that it sticks when your next game comes around.