Correcting Shank Golf Shots
At some point in time it's happened to all of us...you have the perfect lie, perfect view, perfect wind, and everything is right for a fantastic shot at the center of the gren. You survey the green, drop some grass to get just the right feel for the wind, set up in your stance, give it one last look, and then...you shank the ball! All that work for nothing.
Simply put, a shank is when you hit the ball with the nosel of your club instead of the actual clubface. So, you are hitting the ball too close to the heel of the club, rather than the center of the clubface. Most likely your shot will fly off as a line drive directly away from your body.
Knowing what causes a shank is only part of the battle, coming up with an effective strategy to eliminate this is the difficult part. This article will focus on three main areas to help eliminate shank shots: clubface position at setup, weight distribution, and aim.
Clubface Position at Setup
The goal of any golf swing is to bring your club back to the exact position it started in when you make contact with the ball. So, it makes sense to ensure your club setup is correct. The first place to look is where the ball is compared to the clubface. Where is the ball aligned? More towards the heel or toe of the clubface? If you find yourself hitting a lot of shanks, perhaps you should align the ball more towards the toe of the club, to counter-balance any aberrations in your swing causing the clubface to come through farther away from your body when you started your swing.
I'm not talking about back-and-forth weight distribution, but "side-to-side". When you set up your stance, are you leaning back on your heels, or is there more pressure on your toes? If you feel yourself leaning back in your stance, away from the ball, then naturally you will try to counter-balance this and shift your weight towards your toes. This will most likely result in your clubface coming through farther away from your body on your downswing with more of a chance that the hosel will make contact with the ball and result in a shank.
The aim I'm referring to here is not where you want the ball to land, but rather what you are aiming at when swinging. Typically golfers focus on the center of the ball. If you are doing this, and you keep hitting shanks, then perhaps it is best to aim at the inside of the ball, or an imaginary ball that is just inside of the real ball. Try it! Put a ball on the ground and set up your shot as you normally would. Now put a second ball on the ground so that it is touching the first ball, but is closer to your body. Without moving your feet, set up to hit the second ball. Now, without moving the club, get rid of the second ball and take your normal swing, only try to hit the first ball.
Shanks are annoying and usually pop up at the most inopportune times. If you find you are hitting shanks too often, try one of the above techniques to ensure you are hitting the ball squarely on the clubface.
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