Two Causes of Shanking – John Hayes Golf December 2016 Golf Tip Newsletter Golf Tip – December 2016


For your golf game:  There is a particular mistake in the swing where the ball goes very low and off to the right (for a right-hander) and I do not even like to put this word in print but it is called a shank.  The first thing to understand is that the ball is being struck by the hosel (the round part near the bottom of the shaft that connects it to the clubface) near the heel of the clubface, NOT the toe of the clubface.  The second thing to understand is the clubface is usually closed (aiming to the left) or square, NOT open (aiming to the right).  This shot is very confusing to the senses because the golfer is getting the clubface to the outside of the ball and the face may be closed and yet the ball directly off to the right.

Manuel de la Torre outlines several causes and corrections for this problem shot in his great book, Understanding the Golf Swing, but I would like to mention two common causes that I see the most often in lessons.

Cause #1 is using the shoulders, from the end of the backswing, with a very horizontal movement which causes the club to go out away from the golfer and get outside the target line thus causing the impact to be on the hosel of the club.  The more the golfer tries to spin his shoulders from the end of the backswing in order to get the ball to go more to the left, the more the clubhead gets outside the ball and the more likely it is to hit the hosel which will send the ball shooting off to the right.  The correction is to give the arms the responsibility from the end of the backswing to swing the whole club forward to the finish in the direction of the target.  Observe that the club returns forward in the same circular direction that it swings back so you don’t get outside the correct forward swing direction.

Cause #2 is to use the hands to try to twist the clubface closed during the forward swing.  If you hold the club shaft at the horizontal position as it is approaching the golf ball on the forward swing and slowly use your hands to twist the clubface closed you will see that the clubhead goes out away from you and this can get the clubhead outside the golf ball at impact.  If you do this and impact is made with the hosel then the shot flies off to the right.  If you do this and manage to make impact on the clubface then you produce the “first cousin” of the shank which is a sharp hook to the left!  The shank causes panic in the golfer and it should not if you understand the cause.  The correction is to give the arms the responsibility on the forward swing.  No twisting with the hands is needed to square the clubface if the grip is correct.

I am sorry to devote space to this topic during the Holiday Season but this is a problem shot that can ruin a great game and activity for you.  Everyone will hit a shank from time to time but it need not be a common affliction if you understand the cause.


Upcoming clinics and events: ** I will be conducting the Adult Golf Clinics every week on Friday mornings at 9:30 a.m. and on Saturday afternoons at 12:30 p.m.  There is no sign up just show up and cost is only $20 which includes a large bucket of range balls.

 My next LADIES-ONLY GOLF CLINIC will be held on 2 consecutive Weekends – January 7, 8, 14 and 15 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on all 4 Weekend days.  Cost is only $40 total for all 4 hours!  It is good for beginners or newly dedicated golfers.

My next specialty clinic will be a SHORT GAME BOOT CAMP for 2 hours held on Saturday, DECEMBER 3rd from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  I will cover pitching/chipping, bunker play, putting, and fun games to practice effectively!  Men or Ladies welcome.  This is NOT for new beginners.  There is a limit of only 3 students so call or email to sign up.  Total cost is only $55.

I will conduct a GET GOLF READY LADIES BOOT CAMP on Thur., December 8th through Sunday, December 11th.  There will be 4 hours of golf clinics (Thur. & Fri. from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Sat. from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.) and then we will finish on the golf course on Sun. from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  This is perfect for beginners who want to feel comfortable on the golf course in a short time.  Total cost is only $99 and includes everything! 

Please call/text (727) 692-4679 or email,, to sign up as space is limited for all clinics.  Go to for more details.

As always, please contact me with any questions or comments and I hope to see you soon on the lesson tee at the Chi Chi Golf Range & Sports Complex in beautiful Clearwater in the Tampa, FL area.