Caught the shanks during your round? Here’s what you should do

GOLF editor zephyr melton stands next to nathalie sheehan as she explains how to cure the shanks

If you catch the shanks during your round, don't panic.

Ed. Note: This edition of Play Smart was published in partnership with XXIO.

The shanks are one of the most debilitating flaws in golf. Worse yet, they can pop up without warning.

Anyone who’s ever caught the shanks knows how tough they can be to shake. Every other element of your game can be working, but when the shanks show up, it can feel like there’s nothing you can do to get rid of them.

Catching the shanks on the range is one thing, but when they creep up during the middle of the round, there’s nothing worse. Every club with an exposed hosel becomes your enemy and all you want to do is get off the golf course.

Sometimes though, that’s not possible. You’ve got to finish your round whether you like it or not. And when times like these come up, it’s important you know how to fight off the shanks.

Check out the video below as instructor and XXIO ambassador Nathalie Sheehan shares some tips on how to rid yourself of the shanks during your round.

The dreaded shank comes up when you are exposing the hosel of the club to the ball as you approach impact. When this happens, the ball makes contact with the hosel and rockets off to the right. If you want to fix the problem, you’ve got to figure out how to get the strike back toward the middle of the clubface.

Two-ball feel

An easy feeling to correct this flaw is to imagine you have two golf balls in front of you at address — one in your typical ball position and the other outside of that a clubhead away. Set up like you’re going to hit the outside golf ball and take the club to the top. However, when you come down, hit the ball that is closer to you.

“We’re almost making that loop feeling,” Sheehan says. “Generally speaking, for whatever reason it might be, your hands and clubhead are moving out toward the golf ball too much in your downswing … This is a great way to teach your hands to get a little closer to your body coming down.”

Figure-eight drill

Correcting the club path during the downswing is key for curing the shanks. You want to be swinging more in-to-out than out-to-in. To promote this feeling, Sheehan suggests using her “figure-eight” drill.

Hold the club out in front of you with your arms extended, and then with your wrists, draw the outside of the upper part of the eight.

“That’s kind of the loop feeling we need to feel in the downswing,” Sheehan says. “If you’re shanking it, it probably goes the opposite way.”

When you set up to the ball, feel that same figure-eight with your wrists during the downswing. If done correctly, it should correct your swing path and help rid you of the shanks.

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at