Shanks in Golf: Causes and Fixes Explained

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Something that can frustrate a golfer is going out onto the golf course with the best intentions to score well and then finding themselves with a golf swing that is producing a shank.

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This can lead to your ball finding deep roughs, trees and bunkers, which can wipe the smile off your face in a nanosecond and really ruin your game. This is the last thing that you want when you want an enjoyable round of golf!

In this blog post, we will answer some key questions around a golf shank, we will answer what a shank is, what causes most shanks to happen and also explore what some easy fixes are to stop shanking golf balls.

What Is A Shank In Golf?

In simplest terms, a shank occurs when the club’s hosel strikes a golf ball instead of the club’s face. This can cause the ball to sharply veer off in a different direction from where the golfer aimed it and be destructive to a golfer’s score on any given hole.

They can sometimes be given the nickname of the “hosel rockets” largely due to the location of the golf club impact. Golfers often mistake this as they think the shank comes from an open clubface when in reality it is a closed clubface that produces a poor shot and a long skinny divot to form.

Examples Of Shanks

As we’ve discussed golf shanks can be frustrating, however they are something that can happen to most golfers of all abilities. Just as other issues such as topping the ball and slicing the ball happen from time to time. They will typically be found in amateur golfers, especially beginners who are still learning the golf swing basics. However, they also happen to the professionals from time to time and the below video showcases an example of a shank occurring.

What Causes A Shank In Golf?

When the golf club hosel hits the ball this causes what is known as a shank and will have golf balls heading towards an unintended target.

There are several different reasons that this happens:

  • Firstly, the shaft could become twisted and this results in the hosel and clubface not lining up. This is one of the most common causes of shanks and can usually be easily fixed by realigning the club before hitting your shot.
  • Secondly, if your golf club path is incorrect then this will likely result in a shank occurring. The path of the club should be from the inside and traveling out through impact, which should lead to a shank being avoided.
  • Thirdly, if your clubface alignment is incorrect then it could also cause a shank to take place. If the golf club’s face isn’t square at impact, then the golf ball will fly off the clubface at an angle.
  • Additionally, your grip could be the cause of a shank. If you have too strong a grip where your hands are gripping down on the club too tightly, this could elicit a shank.
  • Finally, you need to ensure that your positioning is correct at the address. If you are stood too far away from the golf ball or too close to it, it can lead to your club impacting the hosel by accident and what you find is the ball hits the hosel instead of the sweet spot of the club. This is again something that you should be able to fix by realigning yourself before hitting your shot.

How To Stop Shanking The Golf Ball?

There are several different ways to fix a shank, and one of the most common way is to ensure that your alignment at the address is correct. If you are lined up correctly then there should be no reason why a shank would occur. By investing in good golf alignment sticks you can put in practice and use them as a great drill to ensure that your ball positioning and alignment is where it should be.

Secondly, too many golfers hold a lot of tension when they setup to take a golf swing. By releasing some of the tension in your body you can help ensure that this doesn’t happen. Ensure that you are never putting any unnecessary pressure on your club by gripping down too hard, and make sure to release some of the tension before impact.

Thirdly, on impact you should focus your eyes on the ball and try to hit golf balls square on. By focusing on where your golf club is impacting the ball you can ensure that you’re hitting the ball on a more square angle and away from the hosel, thus avoiding contact with the hosel of the golf club.


What Swing Flaw Causes A Shank?

A shank is a golf swing flaw that occurs when the clubhead is not level with the ground at impact. This causes a sharp change in velocity and can lead to loss of control, a shank, or a slice.

How Do I Stop Shanking My Short Irons?

The best way to stop shanking your short irons is to be aware of how much club you are swinging and keep your arms tucked close to your body. Shanks happen if you are constantly swinging too hard, try to take back the club and not over-swing while ensuring that your positioning is correct.

How Do You Never Shank A Golf Ball Again?

To never shank a golf ball again, you need to have a well-placed grip on the club, a good ball position, and a swing path that ensures that you hit the ball in the center of the club face instead of the hosel. However, if you find yourself consistently shanking the golf ball, heading to the driving range can be an excellent place to practice with a simple drill.

Rounding Up

In summary, if you are struggling with shanking the ball, all hope doesn’t have to be lost. There is often a very identifiable and fixable cause and we would always advise that if you think this is the case then seek out the help and advice of a professional golf coach.

However, you could also choose to head to your local driving range or invest in training tools for some easy drills to help you identify and fix your problem yourself.

If you want to fix the problem yourself then focusing on building good swing fundamentals is imperative. Ensuring that you have a proper grip, good stance and good swing path can help set up the right foundations to stop shanking the golf ball in your golf game.