What Causes the Shanks in Golf?

October 14, 2021

Ah, the dreaded shank shot. This mis-hit happens when the golf ball hits the hosel or heel instead of the club face, which sends the ball flying to the right (for right-handed golfers). It’s not a great feeling, but don’t worry — it happens to the majority of golfers, even the pros, at least a time or two!

Thankfully, Joan Lovelace, CA’s head golf pro and director of player development, has some words of wisdom for curing the shanks…


Explaining the shanks

In order to fix this problem, we first have to understand what exactly a shank shot is. Below, check out the parts of the club you want to avoid hitting in order to avoid a shank.


Simple cures for the shanks

The worst part about shanks is that they seem to come out of nowhere. But according to Lovelace, the first thing you should do is check how far from the ball you’re standing.

Shanks are often a result of setting up too close to the ball, so backing up a bit (but not too much) is one potential fix. You’ll also want to make sure to keep your weight evenly distributed on your heels, since leaning too far forward onto your toes can also contribute to this issue. Below, Lovelace demos how to find the proper distance from the ball.


Once you’ve found the right distance from the ball, it’s important to make sure you’re not taking the club too far inside on the backswing. Other common mistakes include rotating the body too much, or gripping the club too lightly or too loosely.

One easy, effective way to work on a shank-free swing is to place a basket next to the outside of your ball. As you swing, your goal is to not hit the basket. Hitting the golf ball without hitting the basket guarantees that you’ve managed not to shank it!


Come play with CA

CA’s two courses, Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club and Fairway Hills Golf Club, offer different experiences and options for play. Both are home to various programs and lessons for all ages and skill levels.

Plus, you don’t have to be a CA member or even live in Columbia to enjoy our state-of-the-art courses. Learn more here.

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