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How To Stop Shanking Golf Shots

These four great drills will help to banish the highly destructive hosel rocket from your golf game…

Watch: How to stop shanking golf shots

1 Club first at address

The first thing to look at is distance away from the ball, but beware – just standing further and further away won’t necessarily cure your shanks.

It may even exacerbate the problem as you’ll be more likely to tip forward on to your toes on your downswing, bringing the hosel back into play.

To find the right distance away from the ball, set the club down behind the ball first, rather than feet first and then bringing the club down, as this can lead to inconsistencies at set-up.

Then set the butt end of the grip under your chest, or, if you’re struggling with the shanks, almost under your chin, making sure your weight is in the middle of your feet.

Let your arms hang down freely from your shoulders to your wrists, with ample space between the club and the top of your legs.

Related: Claude Harmon: My 10 best golf tips

2 The spray doesn’t lie

One of golf’s cheapest training aids is… athlete’s foot powder spray!

Spray it on the clubface where it will leave a white film.

If you’re prone to a shank, you’ll probably find that even your good shots are closer to the heel.

Now draw a line down the centre of the face and try to work your strike more towards the toe.

Addressing the ball more out of the toe may help, and that’s fine.

Ideally you don’t want toe strikes either, but if you’re struggling with the shanks even they will be good news as they’re far less destructive!

Related: Step-by-step guide to playing the punch shot

3 The barrier ball

You must only hit the closer ball

Put your ball down, then put another ‘barrier’ ball down just outside it with only a small gap between them – one you can just slide your club between toe-first.

Too big a gap and this drill won’t be effective.

Your mission is to only hit the ball you want to hit without disturbing the other one

Any hint of a shank and the other ball will fly off at right angles.

Related: How to practise chipping under pressure

4 Check the hips

Moving your hips towards the ball as you swing can cause a shank, and this drill helps to highlight and limit this unwanted movement.

It’s best to try this with short shots of perhaps 50 yards rather than full swings.

Place something behind you at address – I’m using my golf bag with my driver sticking out – and rest the right cheek of your backside against the driver headcover.

As you rotate away on your backswing, make sure it stays there, then nmoves on to your left cheek as you rotate through impact.

You should be rotating continuously, while not allowing any forward movement of the hips.

This will help to maintain the distance between your legs and the grip end of the club as you hit, preventing the heel from getting any closer to the ball at impact.


  • Use athlete’s foot powder spray to show point of impact
  • Place another ball just outside your ball and try to hit only one
  • Lean against your golf bag to highlight any forward hip movement

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