Every Monday, we tap GOLF’s Top 100 Teachers in America for their insights on what went down between the ropes over the weekend on the major tours, and more importantly, how you can use this information to improve your own game. Call it trickle-down tips—learn from the best to play your best.
In honor of Players Championship runner-up Ian Poulter’s vicious shank on the final hole at TPC Sawgrass, we’ve dug deep into the archives for the best hosel-shot help of all time. Save strokes—and the embarrassment—in seconds flat.
Brian Mogg, Waldorf Astoria G.C., Orlando, Fla. (@MoggAcademy): Shanks usually happen when you move closer to the ball during your downswing. It's that simple. By shifting forward, you change the contact point on your iron from the center to the heel. But the ball doesn't hit the heel—it hits the hosel, and its round shape makes the ball carom violently to the right.
The easiest fix is to stand farther away from the ball at address. But for long-lasting results, be sure to keep your weight over the middle of your feet, which stops you from moving toward the ball. To eliminate your shank-inducing forward move, go to the range and hit practice shots with a ball placed under the toes of each foot. When you're playing for real, simply focus on returning your hands at impact to the same place they were at address. It's an old-school swing thought that's still a bona fide shank-buster.
Mark Blackburn, Blackburn Golf at Greystone G.C., Birmingham, Ala. (@BlackburnGolf): Most recreational players shank the ball because they swing too far to the left and throw their hands at the ball in order to avoid slicing. Pick your poison, right? Here’s a setup trick and an easy drill to get your club on the right path into impact. It’s a double-whammy: no more shanks, no more slices. Watch the video below.
BONUS TIP: From the bowels of our Private Lesson archives, a drastic move to ensure that you never catch the hosel again.
At address, set the hosel directly behind a teed ball. Now swing, intentionally whiffing to the inside of the ball. To do this from a seemingly shank-inducing address position, you must tuck your elbows close to your body, promoting the proper inside-out path. Keeping your arms and hands inside the ball on the downswing will put an end to those hosel rockets. Repeat the whiff several times to groove a shank-proof motion, then simply hit normal shots from your regular address position. That's right—it takes a whiff to fix the shanks. Funny game, golf.