I drank too much cold brew coffee and I’m pretty sure it gave me the shanks

August 15, 2019

I’m lucky enough to oversee the Instruction section at GOLF.com and GOLF Magazine, and it’s something I take very seriously. Your game — and improving it — is important to us. Really important. So we make sure we only deliver you the best, evidence-driven information from the brightest golf minds on the planet.

But when it comes with my own game, I’m a little more reckless.

I’m constantly tinkering, trying new things pretty much at random, and cooking-up new theories. Which brings us to a new one of mine…

The other day, I got the shanks for the first time in my life, and I got them bad. I’ve been trying to re-trace my steps to figure out the root cause for how this could happen, and I’ve determined it’s probably not a technical issue. It’s not like my swing’s perfect by any means; it’s pretty decent, but most importantly of all, it hadn’t really changed much in the space of a day or so when the dreaded shanks came along.


So, instead, I’ve come to a different conclusion. The day I got the shanks, I drank two cups of coffee instead of my ordinary one, and I think that’s what did it. I think that’s what gave me the shanks.

It happened last Saturday. I woke up and had a customary cup of my favorite cold brew and didn’t think very much of it. I was feeling great as I prepared to head to the course for my noon tee time, but I was also feeling a little adventurous, so I made myself a sneaky second cup to go. By the time I got to the course I was hyped, but my game was absolute carnage. I shanked a bunch of shots on the range, which continued onto the course. That second cup of coffee is the only thing I did differently that day, and I’m pretty sure that was the culprit.


Now to be fair, there’s no evidence that coffee hurts your game. On the contrary, it could even help. A 2015 study found that drinking a little coffee can help you focus — but that same study warns not to overdo it, otherwise it could hurt your game. It’s a notion backed up by Golf Digest‘s findings.

I went down a bit of a google rabbit hole and stumbled across this “evidence based” article from Healthline, which warns that “very high dosages may lead to side effects that interfere with day-to-day living.” Looking at some of those side-effects, they could all quite conceivably be shank-related…

  1. Heightened Anxiety
  2. Muscle Breakdown
  3. High Blood-Pressure
  4. Rapid Heart Rate

Anyway, that’s my hypothesis and I’m sticking to it. I share this as a warning, from personal experience. Don’t be like me. Don’t drink too much coffee and give yourself the shanks.

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