The Anti-Shank Swing

By Popular Request

A couple weeks ago, I shared my experience of getting the shanks before playing Pinehurst No. 2 [check it out HERE].  I explained that I’d found a way to get through the round without hitting any lateral shots, and the emails and comments asking, “HOW?” flooded my inbox.  Here’s the answer.

This Lesson Is For You If:

You tend to hit hosel rockets

You’d like to have an anti-shank swing, just in case

What Is a Shank?

A shank is a golf shot that hits the hosel of the golf club.  This shot sends the ball to the right (for a right handed player) without much speed or launch angle.

My Anti-Shank Swing

Let me start with an obvious disclaimer.  This is my anti-shank swing.  I sincerely hope it works for you, but it may not.  If it doesn’t, I’m sure there will be plenty of other cures in the comments section.

My anti-shank swing starts with a normal set up.  A lot of people move closer to the ball or farther from it, but I did not find either one helpful.

Takeaway

One of the keys to producing a decent ball flight with this swing is getting the club face opening early.  I like to feel both my hands working together to rotate the toe of the club into at least a “toe up” position at the point in the swing shown above.  If I can get the face even more open, all the better.

The other thing that I found important is keeping the club head in front of me.  My feeling is that when the club gets behind me (from a down the line view, as above), I’m going to need to throw it out toward the ball, which is the last thing I want when I’m fighting the laterals.

Top of the Backswing

In keeping with that last thought, my primary goal at the top of the backswing is keeping the shaft upright to keep the club head from falling too far behind me.  Given a big shoulder turn, the club head may be “behind me” from a down-the-line view, but, again, I’m relaying what I’m feeling and thinking in the swing.

I also want to keep the club rotating open.  My goal is to be the anti-DJ: a cupped wrist at the top instead of a bowed wrist.  I’d like the club face pointed more toward the ground than toward the sky.

Downswing and Impact

As I start the downswing, my goal is to get the club head out in front of me as much as possible.  I’m not trying to make the stereotypical “over the top” slicer move with my shoulders and upper body; I’m using my hands and arms to turn the shaft parallel to the ground as I rotate into impact.  Think about turning your right palm toward the ground.

If I’ve done all the things above, I’m going to feel the club moving aggressively from right to left into impact.   The more I move it right to left, the further I get from the hosel.  This allows me to swing confidently and turn my attention to managing the ball flight.

Ball Flight

For me, this swing gets my club path moving substantially right-to-left or “out-to-in.”  The ball flight that results from this path is usually a pull or a fade [if you need a refresher on Ball Flight Laws, click HERE].  Avoiding that big pull is the reason for working to open the club face so much early in the swing.

How have you fixed the shanks?

Let us know in the comments section!

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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8 Comments

  1. Roger Kramer

    When opening the face toe up to the top, I find I lay the club off too much. How do you keep the club on plane at the top while opening the face with both hands?

    • Matt Saternus

      Roger,

      I think part of that comes early – keeping the club in front in the takeaway vs letting it sling behind me. The other key for me is the right elbow and keeping that tight to my side instead of letting it slide behind me.

      Best,

      Matt

  2. Hi Matt,

    I lay two clubs or alignment sticks on the ground that are 1.5 club head width a part parallel to my target line. Then place a ball in between the clubs and hit shots with it. Focusing on taking the club straight back “on the railroad tracks” created by the two clubs/sticks. I found when I hit hosel rocket it is because I take the club too inside on the take away and return it too inside. This helps gets the takeaway going the right way.

    -James

    • That’s a great training tool to use without any mechanics involved… I’ll try that.
      But what about on the course? My “shot” is a downhill wedge below my feet. Or in deepish rough.
      I focus on a point away from the ball near the heel…, but it’s an emergency fix I use….

  3. Thx. Everyone has their individual issues. My recipe is to relax the body and mind, keep arms tight to body (not reaching), sequence correctly, and think “cut” to improve my in to out path.

  4. Your method sounds similar to mine. I’ll generally take a bit of an open stance like I would chipping the ball and try to make sure that I take the club back with the clubhead outside the hands since I tend to lay it off too far inside at times. I try to keep the backswing shorter and just pull through down my target line. Like you I have to watch out for the pull or worse yet pull draw and if I overswing I can sometimes still re-route the club too far inside. Done correctly though I’ll hit the ball very straight. I actually use it a lot at my home course since it’s so tight with a lot of OB.

  5. So if I have the toe shanks I just go backwards?

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