Golf Shank Causes - Four Key Faults And Fixes!

Top Coach Andrew Jones looks at the main golf shank causes and offers some simple fixes

Golf shank causes
(Image credit: Future)

In this Golf Shank Causes video and article, Top 50 Coach Andrew Jones asks, why do I shank and provides four causes and four cures that should resolve the issue!

Golf Shank Causes - here are the four main things to look out for:

1 Position from the ball

The first thing to check should be how far from the ball you are standing. Too close and you’ll lose your spine angle in the downswing, lift out of the shot and hit an open-faced shank. Too far away and the momentum of the swing will cause you to lean into the ball through impact – again, the shank is the most likely result. To help, picture a weightlifter just before they lift. Their shoulders are over the middle of their feet, with their weight sitting over the balls of their feet. As you address the golf ball, get your weight distribution in the right position, set the perfect ball position for a mid iron and then let your arms hang naturally down – there should be a gap of about an open hand’s width between your thigh and the butt end of the club. This is the right distance to be standing from the ball and should help you set the perfect posture.

Position from the ball

Take some time to check that you are in an athletic position at address and that you're not reaching for the ball or standing too close to it

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2 Unstable Grip

The next checkpoint is your grip and in particular, your grip pressure. Some players have such a light grip pressure that the club moves in their hands during the swing. Again, this could be the problem. Firstly it is worth checking a neutral, perfect golf grip - getting this right will always help. But to check your grip pressure, place some grass firstly on top of your left thumb and then between the butt of the club and the pad of your left hand. This grass should remain in place during the swing. If your grip pressure is too light it is likely to fall down.

Unstable grip drill

Try this drill to add more stability to your grip and reduce your chances of hitting a shank

Golf Shank Fix - Best Move To Practice!

3 Swing path

When looking at the main golf shank causes, perhaps the most common reason relates to the swing path. Most golfers know that the ideal swing path through impact comes from inside to outside the ball-to-target line. However, this knowledge (and the desire to attack the ball from the inside) causes players to whip the club off on the inside in the takeaway. From the top of the backswing, the only way to get the club back to the ball is with an over-the-top golf swing. Ironically, this causes the out-to-in swing path the player was looking to avoid and crucially, the hosel of the club is the first thing to be presented to the ball. It can also be one of the main reasons for why you pull iron shots

To help, place a tee behind the ball, just outside the ball-to-target line. As you take the club away keep the head working just inside the tee, then as you come in to strike the ball, aim to miss the tee on the inside. This might take a while to perform successfully and you’re likely to hit some bad shots along the way but keep working on it. This simple drill will help you to groove a much better swing path.

swing path shank

Coming over the top is one of the main golf shank causes. If you recognise this position, hit some shots with a tee to the right of the ball to train a more in to out swing path

4 Sliding into the ball

You’re last of our golf shank causes relates to the way your lower body is working in the downswing. Sometimes a shank is the result of a lower body ‘slide’ through the downswing – the knees bend and start to move towards the target causing the hosel to lead into the golf ball. A great drill designed to stabilise your lower body is to place your golf bag next to your left hip at address. As you start the downswing your hips should bump into the bag and then your lower body turns (without sliding towards the target). If you find yourself clattering into the bag (with the bag coming close to falling over) work on stabilising your lower body.

Andrew’s Golf Shank Causes Checklist

- Stand the correct distance from the ball

- Ensure your grip pressure is not too light

- Work on developing an in-to-out swing path

- Prevent your lower body from ‘sliding’ in the downswing

Neil Tappin
Neil Tappin

In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."

Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSi2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X