Ian Hardie Golfer Pacific NZ Column April 2020

Ian Hardie Golfer Pacific NZ Columns
Ian Hardie Golfer Pacific NZ Columns


A helpful tip that causes the shanks in golf.


It’s been a while since I wrote anything about the shanks but I recently had a coaching session with a golfer that has prompted me, to want to share this important bit of advice.

The golfer in question had been suffering from shanking while hitting chip shots and like a lot of other golfers who experience this sort of thing, was about to give up playing the game entirely.

It would have been a shame if the golfer hadn’t found their way to me, as the golfer has played the game competitively for many years but unlike a lot of golfers.

They had also taken frequent golf lessons over their many years of playing the game, from golf teachers in the various areas that they had lived in.

Which in a roundabout way is what caused their problem with shanking chip shots.

After showing the golfer a simple solution to their problem.

Yes, it did just say ‘simple solution’ when referring to shanking chip shots!

The golfer began to express their frustration at having only developed the shanks while chipping, after purchasing a new set of irons to play with.

To cut a long story short, it turned out that as the golfer was being ‘fitted’ into their new clubs, a lesson to sort out their swing had been had been suggested by the golf professional selling them the golf clubs.

It was during the lesson, that the golfer was told the ‘helpful tip’ to stop them shanking.

That almost bought an end to the golfer playing golf completely.

A helpful tip that I’ve heard suggested many times over the years, to golfers who would like to stop hitting shanks.

In reality though, this ‘helpful tip’ will just end up making them shank more often.

What is it that is so bad?

If you take a look at this article on my Golf Habits website.

You will see that it illustrates the common advice (or more correctly for some) the normal human reaction of setting up to your golf shot with the club head further away from the golf ball than normal in an attempt to stop shanking.

To explain this further, I’m going to use some bits from my book The Little Book of Shanking.

…………………..Something that I’m sure that you will have tried doing at some point, if you have ever had the shanks or to put it another way.

It’s positioning your golf club so that the toe of the club is behind the golf ball and the hosel is as far away from the golf ball as possible.

Seems like a logical way to do things doesn’t it?

As you are no doubt aware though, if it does stop the shanks for you – it doesn’t do so for very long – does it?

The reason that this happens is to do with what I believe to be your (and every other golfers) brains’ autocorrect mechanism……………………..

(I explain how this works in the book – you can find out how to get a copy below)

…………………….As you will recall, it has the effect of trying to correct either real or perceived imbalances while you are hitting your golf shots – which you would have experienced if you did the couple of little movements I suggested to do.

This means that if you set up your golf club behind the ball in an extreme position that has the ball out near the toe instead of being in front of the sweet-spot of the iron – a position that you use to hit all of your other golf shots with – including your woods and your putter.

Your brain is very quickly going to recognize that something is different and during your shot, it will do it’s very best to correct that for you by………………..

Moving you towards the golf ball.

Sometimes it will manage to do it well and other times it will overdo it by that smallest of margins that you now understand causes a shank – the width of your finger.

Does that make sense to you?

As difficult as it’s going to be, if you have been setting up like that to try and control your shanks, I’d like you to immediately go back to setting up the same as you would do for all of your golf shots by putting the club on the ground with the sweet-spot of the golf club directly behind your golf ball first and then building the rest of your body position around it after that.

Now, I’m aware that is a little different to what most golfers do but then again – quite a lot of them hit shanks don’t they………………………

As you have hopefully figured out by now, the ‘helpful tip’ of positioning the ball as far away from the hosel as possible, just makes the human brain move your body towards the golf ball more than ever.

Which generally ends up with the shanks becoming more frequent and more violent.

It’s also why the X on the image in this article that I suggested you look at earlier, is in red – so don’t do this!

If you really want to get rid of this common golfing problem from your golf game for good, you have two options.

Come and get coaching from me, which you can find out more about here.

Or, get hold of a copy of my book that explains exactly what you need to do, to get rid of the shanks from your game – for just a few dollars.

It’s also available in a print version from Amazon here if you prefer an old fashioned book.

Play Well


In a hurry to sort your shanks out?

Get yourself a PDF copy here and be reading how to sort out the shanks in minutes.


A helpful tip that causes the shanks in golf


Ian Hardie is Golfer Pacific’s Golf Professional contributor. He is Club Professional at Omanu Golf Club in Mount Maunganui. Ian’s time is split between the pro shop at the club and helping people to improve, while enjoying their golf more as a result of his golf coaching. Over the past few years, in an effort to help as many golfers as he can, Ian has been sharing his common sense golf advice with golfers around the world through his website golfhabits.com. With over 500 articles to read, it’s a great resource for any golfer looking to improve their golf game.

Location Omanu Golf Club, 98 Matapihi Road, Mount Maunganui Phone 0272222073 (txt is ok) or at Omanu Golf Club Pro Shop (07) 575 5957 E-mail ian@golfhabits.com Hours Coaching Times: Monday - All Day, Tuesday - All Day, Wednesday - Morning, Thursday - Afternoon, Friday - Sometimes, Saturday - Afternoon, Sunday - Rarely.
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