I read with great sympathy a post on the Golf Monthly forum some weeks ago from “Hacker1forever”, who spoke with haunting concern about how his game is suffering from the shanks. It was pleasing to see the manner of responses, with many coming to the aid of their cyber buddy. As you would expect in a game that is so subjective, the range of advice varied. But the general consensus seemed to be that “Hacker1forever” was standing too close to the ball.
Whatever the answer was, I could feel “Hacker’s” pain. The shanks leave you with the most demoralising feeling. Sadly, they have crept into my game in a bad way of late and have laid siege on me in the most embarrassing of situations. The worst attacks come on par 3s. A mid iron off the deck doesn’t really create much of an issue, but as soon as the ball is teed up I need to take note of what lies around 80 yards to a sharp right.
Without wanting this to ruin my pleasure anymore, I put my faith back in an old friend called Danny Fisher – who is the head Assistant Professional down at Basingstoke Golf Club. After I had explained the problem, Danny offered his sympathies. But he was quick to point out that my downfall could be due to the fact I am a beaten man before I have even pulled the respective club out of my bag. He’s right. Prior to a round at a course I have yet to play, I can be seen scouring the scorecard to find out where my nemesis holes lie. A quite drastic situation.
“You are on your own on the golf course,” Danny said. “It’s just you and your thoughts. But do you think Tiger Woods has never shanked one before? Of course he has, but by the time he stands over his next shot, the thought of that shank is a million miles away.”
Over the following hour, Danny worked on the mechanics of my swing, but also encouraged me in every possible way. Technically, he moved the weight to the balls of my feet as I was leaning back too much; he altered my grip to bring my right hand more on top of the club; he made sure my arms hung freely from the body and most importantly, told me to “swing with ease”.
There has been no miracle cure, since I don’t believe in those. But perhaps Danny’s parting words played a bigger role in me shooting some half-decent golf last Saturday afternoon…. “Just enjoy your game,” he said.