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.
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.
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.