Published on by Gordon McCallum

Shanking or Socketing

Definition: The action of striking the ball with the hosel of the club.

There are many ways to fix a shank – but this would have to be individualised to your own specific swing. The first thing to realise is what a shank actually is (see definition above).

What that means is that instead of hitting your irons (you can't shank a wood by the way) in the middle of the clubface your a hitting the ball with the hosel. The hosel is the part of the club between the clubface and the shaft (see photo)

So basically when you bring the clubhead back on the downswing to hit the ball the clubhead is approximately 1/2 inch further away from your body than it was at address. The majority of shanks (but not all) are caused by the hands and arms going forward and away from the body on the downswing.

As I said there are many ways to fix a shank but the most successful I have found is to try these two drills. Do them please in this order.

Drill 1 - Try to miss the ball. What! I hear you say he's gone MAD! Not quite but address a ball normally with a PW or 9 iron. Starting with small swings try to to pull your hands and club on the downswing closer to your body so that the club misses the ball on the body side of the ball (feet side). Increase the length of swing each time until you can achieve this with a full swing. Gradually increase the club until you can achieve this with say a 5 iron.

If you can do this, and you will, you are well on the way to curing the shanks.

Drill 2 - Address the ball normally, starting with a 9 iron and gradually working up to a 5 iron, put an object on the far side of the ball (away from body and feet this time) approx. 1/2 inch away from the ball. This object can be a ball, shoe box, head cover infact anything that will let you know if your angle of attack is wrong.

Now try to swing as in drill 1 but this time hitting the ball. If contact is made with the above object (ball, box etc.) then the hands and clubhead are still going forward and away from your body on the downswing (Which means the core problem of why you shank is still there). If you keep repeating both drills you will hit the ball in the middle of the clubface, the object will remain where it started and your shanks will reduce and eventually disappear. These drills will take a little bit of time to get used to but very soon shanks will be a thing of the past.

Please let me know how you get on.

Happy Golfing, Gordon