Welcome to GOLF’s Top 100 Teacher roundtable, where some of the best instructors in the business answer the game’s most perplexing questions. The goal? To help your game and lower your scores ASAP.
The shanks are a debilitating flaw. Worse yet, they can pop up without warning. It’s a tough thing to deal with once you catch them, and getting rid of them can be an arduous process. And sometimes, it feels like they’ll never leave.
The good news? There are ways to combat the dreaded ailment. Read below for advice from four GOLF Top 100 Teachers who explain the best ways to get rid of the shanks.
1. Reduce the tension
First and foremost remember this: shanking causes shanking! It’s the reaction to the first shank that determines your outcome for the rest of the day, and it’s critical to quickly find a way to reduce tension in your swing. The first shank may simply have been sloppy or evidence of a fragile swing, but remember, shanking is not your normal shot pattern. Take a deep breath, exhale, relax your hands and arms and focus on a balanced finish. This will smooth out your tempo, give you a positive thought and hopefully improve your balance. —Jeff Warne, The Bridge GC, Bridgehampton, N.Y.
2. Stay further from the ball at impact
Tour players occasionally hit shanks, but it does not imply that they have all of a sudden acquired the golf swing of a 24-handicap player. The same holds true for you! When you get a case of the shanks, it does not mean that you have completely lost everything good about your swing. It means one simple thing: you hit the ball with the hosel of your club and therefore, you are simply too close to the ball at impact.
Be absurdly practical and choose from a list of possible adjustments that will help you stay further away from the ball at impact. A few examples:
- When you set your club down next to the golf ball, instead of setting the center of the club at the ball, set the toe of the club at the ball.
- Make sure that your setup is extended so that if anything, you struggle to reach the ball at impact vs. ending up too crowded at impact.
- When you swing through impact, feel as though you are backing your head up away from the ball vs. allowing yourself to move your head towards the ball.
—Dom DiJulia, Jericho National GC, New Hope, Pa.
3. Focus on the toe
Catching the shanks can be stressful, so you want to take a deep breath and pay attention to your target. Fall in love with your target, see a great shot and commit to it. When you set up to your shot, set the club down on the inside of the ball. And then when making a swing, focus on hitting the ball with the toe of the club on the inside part of the ball. —Tina Tombs, The Arizona Biltmore GC, Phoenix, Ariz.
4. Stand taller
First and foremost, take a deep breath. Then, focus on using a lighter grip and staying tall through the swing. Most shanks are due to getting your weight out on your toes through impact, so make some practice swings with your toes feeling off the ground during the swing. Finally, keep your hands close to your body through the impact area. —Suzy Whaley, Country Club at Mirasol, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.