This post is part of a series of discussions where I tackle a lot of common swing issues. However, instead of providing common fixes that you've probably seen elsewhere, I will be providing a different way to think about how to obtain the correct feels of the swing. This series is catered to help more of an intermediate to advanced player who has somewhat of a functioning swing. These articles will assume you know some swing vocabulary. Please also check out my earlier posts.
Today we will be discussing the prohibited "S" word in golf. The "Shank." When every time I think of someone shanking a golf shot it makes me giggle. It is quite a funny shot if you think about it; "The Hosel Rocket" it's like a fart that comes out of nowhere. But for some golfers this could be their Achilles heel and can really instill mental blocks and quite frankly be a habit you can't seem to get ride of.
How this tip is different: It should be understood that the most common reason for a shank is the the hosel is working it's way too close to the ball on the downswing. There can be many factors, the most common fix that coaches will get you to do is to swing the club more outside your hands and to keep you hip depth, but I will show you a different way to think about fixing this issue and it involves understanding some beta torque in you arms.
The first thing to check if you shank the golf ball is your stance. Is your weight too much on the toes or the heels during the address? If so make sure your are more level and balanced over the arches of your feet. Think like you are on a skateboard and not feeling like you are on only one edge of the board. If you'r not setting up correctly, it will negatively effect the way you apply torque to the golf club and everything else written below can go out the window.
The next thing you want to check is if your backswing is getting wide enough on the backswing and that the clubface isn't fanning open on the backswing. To exaggerate this feel make sure that the clubface is pointing more down in the halfway back position. The clubface should be approximately the angle of your spine.
Now here's the fun part that will eliminate your shank. After you have done a couple reps of getting your balance and the backswing correct
it's time to put it all together on the downswing. The key move here is getting your beta and gamma torque in the proper sequence. To know what the difference in the different torques, imagine Alpha torques as being like you're going to chop and axe, beta torque as the torque you would put on the club in an arm wresting fashion and gamma torque as the torque you would put in turning a screwdriver. Refer to picture on the right. Now, if you are like most shankers that I come across, you are in some way shape or form getting the club to have too much negative gamma torque coming through the ball. Negative beta meaning (Laying down the club) If you're already a decent player, you are overly getting the club shallow for too long in the downswing.
What you want to do is start applying more positive beta and gamma torque after about halfway down in the swing. To have this feel, bring the club down to waist high. Your right arm should be in a delivery position or an arm wrestling position, now I really want you to feel that you are arm wrestling and apply some good force to win the arm wrestle, you will feel as though your arms are releasing the club to your lead side without much hip or trunk rotation. That heavy feel that your having is positive beta torque being applied. Start with small motions and then work your way up to hitting some golf shots. You should be amazed at how you are making cleaner contact at your shanks are going away. If your shank is really severe you need to add even more beta torque.
In addition, if you are a slicer of the golf ball, you need to apply some positive gamma toque as well. Follow the instructions above but now try to twist your wrist as if you were to be screwing a screwdriver in the direction of your swing simultaneously while adding beta torque. (for right handers, that would be counter clockwise)
There hasn't been one golfer who I haven't been able to help with the shanks. I know everyone has a different issue, but information above is what I see with 80% of golfers who come to me with shanks. I hope you found this article valuable. Please leave a comment below for any other questions. - Cheers