Hitting a shank is bad enough, but they tend to come in bunches. That can really mess with your mind—and your score. Anyone who tells you to forget you just rocketed one into the trees on the right has never lived with the shanks. Consider the cause. Typically, the clubface is wide open at impact, and the swing is out to in, with the clubhead coming from the far side of the strike line and cutting to the inside. Those two conditions expose the hosel, which hits the ball, shooting it right.
First, fix the face. Square the clubface, then place both your hands on the grip in what’s called a strong position—turned dramatically away from the target. Don’t just grip the club and turn your hands back; that only rotates the face open. The combination of a square face and strong grip is what helps you close the face through impact.
“Stay turned, and let the club drop to the inside.”
Next, fix the path. Swing back, making a full shoulder turn, and as you start down, keep your back to the target a beat longer. The club will drop to the inside of the target line. From there, you can swing out to the ball without worrying about the hosel being exposed from an out-to-in path.
These changes should do the trick, but if you need a maximum dose of shank-proofing, here’s one more: Try to hit the inside-back portion of the ball with the toe of the club. That will keep your path coming from the inside and prevent the hosel from moving closer to the ball. Shanks solved!
ADVANCED CONCEPT : MAKE THE SHAFT MISS THE BALL
THINK OF BASEBALL: You’re trying to swing the bat into the ball—simple. In golf, if you envision the shaft hitting the ball, you’ll probably make contact off the hosel because that’s the end of the shaft. Instead, you have to learn to miss the ball with the shaft. The clubhead extends out farther than the hosel so you want to swing the shaft to the inside of the ball. The image of the shaft missing to the inside will help you produce center-face contact. This mind-set might be just what you need to shake those shanks.
— with Peter Morrice