How to stop shanking

What causes a shank in golf?

Everyone who has played golf has shanked the ball at one time or another. But there’s those of you who shank the ball a lot more often than you’d like to be doing. So what can be done to fix this?

The shank is possibly the ugliest shot in the world. It’s embarrassing, it’ll leave you in a bad position for the next shot and can really cast a grey cloud over the rest of your round. It can even cause many golfers to pack in the game but it doesn’t have to be like this.

What exactly is shanking in golf?

Simply put, a shank is a shot hit out of the hosel of the golf club. If your target line is straight, a shank sends your ball massively to the right or left. The reason the ball goes off-target is because the golf club head doesn’t impact hit the centre of the club (the sweet spot). Everyone hates shanking the ball but solving it may be easier than you think.

How many different ways can I shank the golf ball?

First, you have to identify what type of shank you have. Unfortunately, there’s more than one, so read through the list to help you diagnose how you’re shanking the ball. Once you know, it’s easier to put you on the path to stopping shanking.

Toe shanking

The toe shank happens when the ball strikes the toe of the golf club. This will result in an ugly shot to with the ball going right for right-handers and left for the left-handers.

Hosel shanking

Just by looking at the hosel, you can tell any shot that comes of it is going to be ugly. Where your ball will end up is anyone’s guess.

Heel Shanking

The heel shank happens when the ball strikes the heel of the clubhead. This is the opposite to the toe shank and will send the ball left for right-handers and right for left-handed golfers.

Why do I shank the ball and what can I do to finally stop shanking?

When you swing the golf club the impact of the club head on the ball is the most important factor when it comes to you having a good or a bad shot. A good shot will be hit out of the centre of the club. If you’re shanking the ball then clearly your ball isn’t hitting the ball in the centre. Identifying where your clubhead impacts the ball will help you fix your problem.

Did you know you can use lipstick on the clubhead, hit the ball than see the imprint of the ball? This will show you exactly where the impact is made. 

Your aim is too open

If your aim is off, this can lead to the clubface being too open. By being to open this directly causes the ball to hit the hosel.

Your grip

Your grip is crucial. When you swing, you want to have a relaxed but firm grip on the golf club.

What happens with some golfers is they wrap their hands around the club too much to the left which causes the clubface to open.

Ball Position

You have to be in a good position in relation to the ball. Standing too close or far away will affect your shot.

Addressing the ball correctly will help you hit the centre of the club.


Your stance probably isn’t causing you to shank the ball but it can still happen.

What usually happens when the stance is a factor is simply that you’re standing too close to the ball. Because you’re standing too close, the when you’re swinging the golf club you’re trying to bring in the club too much at impact.


Weight distribution is incredibly important in golf. A lot of golfers tend to position their weight on the toes whereas distributing the weight on your heels may see your shank solved.

Swing Path

If you’re on the golf course, by taking a shot and taking a divot you can see your swing path. Shanker’s swing path is usually from the inside.

Try this drill to help you avoid shanking the ball

Check your set up, make sure that you are not stood too near the ball.

You should be able to place your right thumb on the grip end of the club, fully span your hand out and your little finger should just touch your left leg.

  1. Place a tee in the ground where the ball would normally be, and then place another tee about 2 inches outside of the first one.
  2. Make an easy swing, trying to hit the first tee squarely while missing the outside tee.
  3. If you hit both tees, you know you are pushing the club out and away from you.
  4. Practise hitting the tee peg nearest you to avoid the shank.

The Golfschool

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