December 8, 2022


by Anne Cain, LPGA, GSEB

Golfers absolutely agree that the most dreaded and feared shot in golf is the “shank”. In fact, on the tour they won’t even say the word as if it will initiate a curse on the player!

What is a shank?  It occurs when the golf ball makes contact with the hosel of the club and it makes the ball squirt sideways – so it’s a terrible outcome!  Once a golfer hits a shank, the fear factor increases and it seems to cause a spell of shanks to occur in succession.

What causes a shank?  The shank is caused by 2 primary reasons:

  1. The golf club is approaching the ball from “outside” the plane causing the ball to contact the hosel of the club. This “over the top” move is very common with golfers – especially those that slice their longer clubs.
  2. The golfers’ body is moving closer to the ball during the swing, and this causes the club to move outside the ball striking the hosel. This is primarily caused by excess knee and leg movement which moves the golfer towards their toes in the swing.

How can you cure the shank?  You will need a tall sponge and a can of foot spray powder to give you feedback.  First, spray the face of your club so you can see your contact pattern after each strike.  Second, place the sponge outside the toe of the club as you address the ball.  If your club moves “out” then you will hit the sponge and you will see the contact point near the heel or hosel of the club.  To correct this, try and hit the opposite part of the club – the toe!  You will need to feel like you are more balanced with your weight on your heels and you need to keep your hands closer to your body as you swing the club through impact.  You can even address the ball more towards the toe of the club to help this.

As a long-term solution, you will need to take some lessons and learn the correct sequence and lower body action to help deliver the club on plane to hit the sweet spot.  Here at the PGA TOUR Golf Academy, we use high speed video to show you what is occurring and how to correct the problem.

Anne Cain is a Master Instructor at the PGA TOUR Academy at World Golf Village. She has over 20 years of teaching experience with all skill levels.  Anne is an LPGA Teacher of the Year and has received Top Teacher accolades from GOLF Magazine and GOLF Digest. For more information contact

Shank Sponge Tip
foot powder

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