By Randy Chang
The dreaded shank is experienced by all golfers at all levels of the game, from the beginner to professionals like Roy McAvoy from Tin Cup! The surprising thing is that it is a very small miss with a very detrimental result. There are many causes but the bottom line to the “hosel rocket” is that you have pushed the club out from your starting point ½ to ¾ of an inch forward away from your body.
Here are a few things you can do to instantly correct this miscue:
1. Head Cover Tip: take one of your head covers and place it on the outside of the ball approximately an inch away from the ball. Swing your club with the only intention to NOT hit the head cover. Don’t worry about hitting the ball, just try to miss the head cover. Hopefully your natural instincts will kick in and your body and arms will do whatever it takes to avoid hitting the object. If the head cover doesn’t work we go to drastic measures and get a 2 x 4 piece of wood and go through the same drill. Once you’ve hit the wood a few times your body will learn very quickly how to avoid it, this is the Pavlov effect!
2. 2-Ball Drill: Place 2 balls side by side as shown in the picture. Set up to the outside ball, kick the inside ball out of the way but keep that picture in your head. As you swing the club try to hit the imaginary inside ball. You can also use a tee for this drill and actually try to hit it.
If you are shanking the ball with the toe of the club just reverse the process. You can’t use the 2×4 in this situation though!
From a set up standpoint, Check your posture as you might be a standing to close to the ball and check your arm hang. Are your arms hanging directly under your shoulders or inside your shoulder line? Check your weighting; hosel shanking can be caused by your weight starting centered and then shifting to the balls of your feet on the down swing.
I have seen golfers with shanking problems try to line the club on the toe of the club. This approach while seeming logical actually tends to worsen the situation. Golf is a very counterintuitive mental activity, when your mind sees the ball lined up at the toe of your club, your body will react according to what you see. So you will want to push the club away from your body further which is the cause to your problem! Try setting up lining the ball on the heal or hosel of your club. Now your mind will tell your body to do the opposite…hopefully. Otherwise, the drills above will surely work.
By Randy Chang
PGA Director of Instruction
Journey at Pechanga