A golf shank is one of those golf terms you won’t even want to mention when out on the golf course. The word makes some people cringe and wish that you had never even said it. So what is a shank? Why does it make golfers so nervous? And how can amateur golfers avoid hitting one? Keep reading, and we will answer all of the above.

The shanks are when you continually hit the golf ball off the hosel of the club; if a golfer is said to have the shanks, it means they are hitting more than one shank and can’t seem to get themselves out of it.

Hitting one shank implies that you will have hit one poor golf shot that results in the ball coming off the hosel of the golf club. However, having a case of the shanks is an entirely different issue and will sometimes cause golfers to walk off the course.

If you have ever hit a golf shank, you know how terrible the shot feels. Even the best golfers in the game have hit a shank from time to time and have felt terrible about it immediately afterward. Most golfers get quite scared that a single golf shank will turn into the shanks.

Let’s take a look at why a golf shank happens and how to get yourself back to hitting the ball in the center of the clubface again.

Why Do Golf Shanks Happen?

image of shanks in golf - AEC InfoWhen you set up to hit a golf shot, you set yourself up for the impact position. Although setup and impact look slightly different, you essentially need to return the golf club head to the square position with the ball meeting the clubface directly in the center.

However, when a golf club backswing takes place, the club face can turn and change, and sometimes on the way back down, when the club returns, it meets the golf ball at the hosel of the club.

Due to the angle of the hosel, a shank will be the result, and the ball will shoot out to the right, sometimes nearly in line with where the player is standing. This means that not only will you be well off the fairway, but your golf shot will have hardly traveled.

Shanks happen for two main reasons; the first is standing too close to the ball, the other is a swing path issue.

Standing Too Close

If you stand too close to a golf ball, sometimes, when you bring the club back into the impact position, it will make contact on the hosel. The stance and setup of your golf swing are so incredibly important.

If your lower body cannot rotate the proper way, chances are you will struggle to get the club and ball to match up properly on the downswing.

The great thing about this cause for a shank is that it is very easy to correct. All you need to do is move away from the ball a bit and see if it helps in any way.

Swing Path Issues

The swing path issues are the most common reasons for hitting a shank. The club will come too far inside on most shanks. When this happens as you turn through the impact position, the path is still too far from the inside, and the club connects with the ball right near the hosel.

However, a shank swing could also come from a golf swing that is very far over the top. However, for the right-hander, average golfer, the occasional shank comes from swinging the club on a very severe inside path.

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Tips To Fix The Shanks image of how to stop shanking the golf ball - AEC Info

Now that you understand why the ball shanks from time to time let’s look at some of the best ways to fix the shanks so that you can get your game back.

Take Half Swings

One of the drill options or swing fixes is to start taking some half swings to ground yourself again and get rid of the shanks. Most of the time, the shank occurs from a movement that is just slightly different than your typical golf swing. Condense things to a half swing and just focus on making great contact again.

Practice Hitting Wedges

If you get the shanks really bad, head over to the chipping practice area and start hitting some short chip shots with your favorite golf wedge. If you can get the clubface to square up on these chips and pitches, you will get your confidence back in your full swing. This is a great drill; anytime your golf swing starts to struggle, break it down to the basics and head to the chipping green.

Feet Together Swings

Standing with your feet together when you take a golf swing may feel a bit odd initially, but it is a simple drill and highly effective. With your feet together, you will have to keep yourself in balance, and you will naturally swing the club back the correct distance. Once you hit some balls that go straight while your feet are together, slowly start working your way to a standard golf stance.

Drop Right Foot Back

If you are stuck on the shanks, head to the range and try this golf stance. Take your regular stance as if you are to hit a ball, and then take your right foot and drop it back about a foot. The stance will feel very awkward, but it typically helps golfers square the clubface up and get the ball going towards the target. If you get a few of these good ones in, switch back to the standard golf stance.

Use Alignment Sticks

Golf shaft alignment sticks can help with any swing path-related issues that you may have. If you have the ability, it is excellent to video a few swings while there are alignment sticks on the ground. Play the video back in slow motion and see how far off the path and target line the golf swing is. Typically with a shank-type golf swing, it will be very apparent what you are doing wrong.

Lower Grip Pressure

If you are shanking the ball, it will cause you to increase your grip pressure. It’s a very stressful thing to have to happen, and players will want to try and fix it immediately.

Lessen your grip pressure in the left and right hand is necessary to get your golf swing back.

Get The Thought Out Of Your Mind

Last but certainly not least, you need to get the thought of a shank out of your mind. So many golfers get the shanks because they have in their heads that it can’t be fixed. Shanks are pretty easy to fix and should only take a few swings to get your golf game back. Follow these easy drills anytime you shank a golf ball.


Hopefully, you now understand what golf shanks are and how to fix them. Many golfers believe that the shanks are mental. We have some belief in this, but there is also a physical/scientific reason for shanks that will need to be addressed.

Until you start hitting the clubface in the correct position, the shanks won’t go away. We hope you never need these tips, but keep them somewhere close should this ever happen to you. For more golf tips and information be sure to check out the rest of AEC Info.