There are a few words or phrases that golfers never want to hear out on the course, “FORE!” “You’re still out.” and the granddaddy of them all “SH*NK”. Saying the word out loud on the golf course is equivalent to yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater. It just isn’t done! The word is so horrendous that I dare not even type it in fear of developing them in my own swing. If you’ve ever had the displeasure of having the sh*nks, you know the utter frustration they cause.
A Case of the Shanks
As a golf professional, I routinely get invited to play in tournaments and events. During a recent corporate golf outing, one of those high dollar affairs that CEOs, retired athletes and movie stars pay out the nose to play, I had the pleasure of being paired with a rather well to do business executive from San Antonio, TX.
This fella was dressed head to toe in Under Armor apparel, had a full bag of PXG equipment and played a slice that I swear curved 100 yards. On about the 4th hole, captain dress the part starts firing hosel rocket after hosel rocket. Since part of my duties as the professional in this group is to help the other players with their swings, I offer a few simple suggestions to fix the issue.
Magically, a few holes later, he was cured. From that moment on, I was this guy’s hero. I also earned myself a nice solid cash bonus and an invite to come play the country club whenever I travel to his neck of the woods.
But what did I really do to fix his shank?
Since the sh*nk is caused by the heel/hosel of the club making contact with the ball during the swing, everyone tries to fix a sh*nk by standing further away from the ball. This tends to exaggerate the problem. When working with my students with the sh*nks, I like to focus on balance and mental imagery.
There are several drills to help fix this issue, but here is MY method for eliminating the dreaded sh*nk!
- RELAX! Take a deep breath. After a bad shot, too many golfers focus on the negative of that shot. It’s over, let’s move on.
- Grab your 7 iron and address the ball in your normal position.
- Begin by making swings that start with your normal backswing and then turn into a forward swing parallel to the ground. Basically, start in your golf posture and make “baseball” type swings with your 7 iron.
- You should start to notice your balance improving and that you’re not falling towards the ball. You may even feel as though you are falling towards the target.
- Once you can feel the improvement in balance, try a few of the same swings with your eyes closed.
- During these eyes closed swings, mentally picture the ball leaving the clubface, traveling down the center of the fairway, drawing ever so slightly and landing softly on the green.
- Repeat this swing drill 5-10 times.
- After completing this drill, set up to your iron shot with your new found confidence and strike it right in the middle of the clubface.
If this drill doesn’t cure your sh*nk, there’s always tennis!