It’s a shot that strikes fear into all golfers and often rears its ugly head at the worst possible moment. In the video and article below, PGA pro Dan Grieve shares a couple of simple drills that will help you improve your ball-striking and get rid of the dreaded shanks…
There are two main causes of a shank. Either the swing path comes excessively from the inside or from the outside. So, if you’re struggling with this shot, you need to work out which category you fall into.
But before you work on your swing path, you need to make sure you’ve got the basics down. I see a lot of people shanking because of poor posture or because they stand too close or far away from the ball. Too close and you won’t have the room to open up through impact and too far away and you’ll start reaching for the ball, causing the weight to move onto your toes.
Here are a couple of drills that will help you get back on track…
Better players tend to get stuck on the inside approaching impact as a result of too much leg drive and hip slide, forcing the hand path out to the right and exposing the hosel.
A really easy fix to get the feeling of your hand path working more around your body with better rotation, is just simply to hit balls with your feet together. Don’t worry about distance, just take an 8 or a 9-iron and clip some shots away.
The reason this drill works so well is because it forces you to rotate. If you try to slide, you’ll quickly lose your balance so, at the range, work on hitting some half shots with the feet together and that’ll neutralise your path.
Alternatively, if you’re coming over the top, which is probably the more common cause, you can use a prop. In the video, I’ve got a headcover, which I put just outside the ball. Don’t make it too easy for yourself, you only want about a centimetre between the toe of the club and the headcover.
If you get to the top of the swing and cut across the ball, you’re more likely to make contact with the headcover and therefore hit a shank. Instead, let your instincts take over. The only aim is to miss the headcover, so let that thought encourage your arms to drop more on the inside. Repeat this drill at the range and you’ll start to get the club on a much better path to improve the consistency of your ball-striking.