How Not to Shank the Golf Ball? [Try These Tips And Tricks]

Every golfer, regardless of skill level, sometimes experiences the troublesome “shank” shot. This happens when the ball hits the hosel of the club, leading to unpredictable flight, typically to the right for right-handed golfers. How can you prevent shanking the golf ball?

The key to avoiding a shank lies in understanding its causes and working on corrections and improvements in your swing mechanics. It involves consistent practice, patience, and often the guidance of a coach to analyze and rectify the issues in your swing.

Discover why shanks occur, fix them, improve accuracy, and recover in this comprehensive guide. Let’s conquer shank fears and master sweet, accurate shots!

How Not to Shank the Golf Ball

What Is A Shank Golf Shot?

A shank in golf refers to a shot where the golfer makes contact with the golf ball on the hosel of the club instead of the clubface. 

The hosel is the part of the clubhead where the shaft is connected, and it is located near the heel of the club. A shank is also sometimes referred to as a “hosel rocket” or “hosel shot.”

When a golfer shanks a shot, the ball typically goes off at a sharp angle to the right (for a right-handed golfer) or left (for a left-handed golfer) of the intended target. 

The ball often travels very low and can veer dramatically offline, leading to poor distance and accuracy.

Shanking a golf shot can be a frustrating experience for golfers, as it often results in a significant loss of control and can negatively impact their score. It is considered one of the most dreaded mistakes in golf.

Shanking can happen to golfers of all skill levels, although it tends to be more common among beginners or those who are struggling with their swing mechanics.

Why You Shank The Golf Ball?

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The golf shot known as a “shank” occurs when the golf ball is struck by the hosel of the club instead of the clubface. 

This typically results in the ball shooting off to the right (for right-handed golfers) in a severe, unintended manner. 

Shanking can be frustrating, but it’s a common issue that many golfers experience at some point.

There are a few possible reasons why you may be shanking the ball:

Poor setup

A faulty setup can contribute to shanking. If you’re too close to the ball or standing too upright, it increases the likelihood of hitting the hosel instead of the clubface.

Swing path

The swing path is the path the club takes during the swing.

If your swing path comes from too far inside-out, it can cause the clubhead to move away from the ball and hit the hosel.

This is often referred to as an “over-the-top” or “outside-in” swing path.

Weight distribution

Improper weight distribution during the swing can lead to shaking.

If your weight stays too much on your heels or moves excessively towards the toes during the downswing, it can throw off your balance and cause you to strike the ball with the hosel.

Grip issues

An incorrect grip can contribute to shanking. If your grip is too strong (hands turned too far to the right for right-handed golfers), it can cause the clubface to close excessively during the downswing, leading to a shank.

Tension and lack of relaxation

Tension in your body and grip can adversely affect your swing. Being too tense or anxious during your swing can cause you to lose control and shank the ball.

How Can A Golfer Fix A Shank Shot And Improve Their Accuracy? 

To address a shank shot and improve accuracy, golfers need to focus on refining their swing and setup. Follow these steps for better results.

Correct Your Setup

Fine-Tune Your Setup Make sure you position yourself at the proper distance from the ball and align your body correctly. It’s like setting yourself up in the right spot to take a free throw in basketball.

Practice An Inside-To-Outside Swing Path

Practice an Inside-to-Outside Swing Path Work on adjusting your swing path so that the club moves from the inside to the outside during the swing. 

This is similar to hitting a baseball with a bat and making sure the bat’s path goes from behind you toward the opposite field.

Delay The Release Of The Club

Delay Club Release Practice delaying the release of the club during the downswing. This way, you can ensure that the clubface connects with the ball instead of the hosel. 

It’s like waiting until the perfect moment to hit a piñata, making sure you strike it with the stick’s sweet spot.

By focusing on these steps and putting in consistent practice, you can reduce shanks and improve the accuracy of your shots on the golf course.

How Do Golf Professionals Diagnose And Fix A Shank Shot In Their Students?

Golf professionals employ various techniques, such as keen observation, meticulous analysis, and specialized teaching tools, to diagnose and rectify shanks.

Check your setup

Make sure you’re setting up to the ball properly. Stand the correct distance away from the ball, with your weight balanced on the balls of your feet.

Align your body parallel to the target line and ensure that your clubface is square to the target.

Position the ball correctly

Place the golf ball in the correct position in your stance. For most full shots with irons, the ball should be positioned just inside your left heel (for right-handed golfers). Adjustments can be made depending on the club and shot you’re playing.

Focus on the swing path

The shank shot often occurs when the club swings on an out-to-in path, leading to the hosel making contact with the ball. Work on swinging the club on an inside-to-square-to-inside path.

One drill to help with this is to place an object, such as a headcover or tee, just outside the toe of the clubhead.

Practice making swings without hitting the object to encourage an inside-out swing path.

Maintain a balanced finish

After striking the ball, make sure to maintain good balance and finish with your weight balanced on your front foot.

Avoid swaying or falling towards the target during the swing, as this can contribute to an out-to-in swing path.

Work on your grip

A poor grip can contribute to shanking. Make sure you have a neutral grip that allows for proper wrist hinge and control throughout the swing.

Seek professional guidance if you’re unsure about your grip technique.

Practice drills

Incorporate shank-specific drills into your practice routine. For example, you can place an alignment stick or club just outside the ball, closer to the heel side.

This will help train your mind to focus on making contact with the center of the clubface.

Mental focus

Shanking can often be caused by tension or anxiety. Stay relaxed and focused during your swing. Take slow, smooth swings, and avoid trying to hit the ball too hard.

Seek professional help

If you’re consistently struggling with shanking or any other swing issue, consider taking lessons from a golf professional.

They can provide personalized guidance and help you correct your swing mechanics.

Remember, improving accuracy in golf takes practice and patience. Be persistent and work on these techniques regularly. With time and effort, you can overcome the shank shot and improve your overall game.

How to Recover from a Shank Shot and Regain Confidence?

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Recovering from a shank shot in golf can be challenging, both physically and mentally.

It can shake your confidence and make you doubt your abilities. However, with the right mindset and practice, you can overcome it.

Here are some steps to help you recover from a shank shot and regain your confidence:

Acceptance and Positive Mindset

It’s important to accept that shank shots happen even to the best golfers.

Avoid dwelling on the negative and instead focus on the future and your potential for improvement. Maintain a positive mindset and believe in your abilities.

Analyze the Shot

Take some time to analyze what went wrong with the shank shot. Was it a technical issue, a mental lapse, or a combination of both?

Understanding the cause will help you address it effectively and prevent it from happening again.

Seek Professional Guidance

If you’re struggling to identify the root cause of the shank shots or if they persist, consider seeking guidance from a golf professional or coach.

They can assess your swing, provide valuable insights, and suggest specific drills or adjustments help you correct the issue.

Practice with Purpose

Once you have identified the problem, focus on practicing with purpose. Work on the specific aspects of your swing or setup that need improvement.

Break down the movement into smaller components and practice them individually before integrating them back into your full swing.

Gradual Progression

Start with simpler drills or exercises that allow you to rebuild your confidence and develop a consistent swing path.

As you see improvement, gradually increase the difficulty level and challenge yourself. Remember to be patient with your progress, as improvement takes time.

Visualization and Positive Self-Talk

Visualize successful shots and positive outcomes before stepping up to the ball.

Use positive self-talk to boost your confidence and reaffirm your belief in your abilities. Replace negative thoughts with constructive and encouraging statements.

Play with Lower Stakes

To regain confidence on the course, consider playing casual rounds with friends or in less competitive settings.

This can help take the pressure off and allow you to focus on enjoying the game while rebuilding your confidence.

Set Realistic Goals

Set achievable goals for yourself during practice and play. Start with smaller targets and gradually increase the difficulty.

Celebrate small victories along the way, as they will help boost your confidence and motivation.

Mental Conditioning

Practice mental conditioning techniques, such as deep breathing, visualization, and mindfulness.

These techniques can help you stay calm, focused, and resilient in challenging situations, including after a shank shot.

Embrace the Learning Process

Remember that golf is a lifelong learning process, and setbacks are part of the journey.

Embrace the opportunity to learn from your mistakes, make adjustments, and grow as a golfer. Stay committed, stay positive, and keep working on your game.


As we near the conclusion, let’s address some frequently asked questions about shanking the golf ball.

Is a shank the same as a slice?

No, a shank and a slice are different. A shank occurs when the ball strikes the hosel, while a slice happens when the ball is hit with an open clubface, causing the ball to curve to the right for right-handed golfers.

Can good golfers shank the ball?

Yes, even skilled golfers can occasionally shank the ball. It’s a common issue.

Do I need a new club if I’m shanking?

You may not need a new club if you are shanking. Often, shanks are the result of swing errors rather than equipment issues. Working on your swing mechanics and getting proper guidance can help address the problem.

How can I avoid shanking during a game?

To avoid shanking during a game, focus on improving your swing mechanics. Regular practice, working with a golf instructor, and ensuring proper setup and alignment can all contribute to minimizing the occurrence of shanks.

How long does it take to fix a shank?

The time required to fix a shank can vary depending on the underlying cause and the effort you put into addressing it. Consistent practice, working with a professional, and making necessary adjustments can lead to improvement over time.

Final words

Shanking the golf ball can be frustrating, but it’s an issue that can be corrected with practice and understanding. 

Always remember, golf is a game of patience, precision, and perseverance. 

So, keep practicing, work on your swing mechanics, and you will overcome the dreaded shank in due course. Happy golfing!