Monday, January 16, 2012

What to Know About Shanking Wedges in Golf?

Shank -- a word many golfers don't like to say and don't like to hear. It describes one of the ugliest, most feared type of bad results when swinging the golf club. Quite simply, shanks occur when the ball is struck by the hosel -- the spot where the shaft and club head come together -- instead of the sweet spot on the clubface. The result of this tends to be a low shot well off-line to the right.
Causes of a Shank
The reason that people are more likely to shank wedges has to do with the steeper swing path used with these clubs and the fact that the clubface on wedges tends to be more open, revealing more of the hosel, according to golf instructor Steve Atherton. Additionally, golfers who stand too close to the ball or have flawed a swing path with the club increase the chances of pushing the clubface away, aligning the hosel with the ball.
The Correct Stance
Atherton describes an approach to setting up at address that will help to reduce chances of shanks. Allow your arms to hang naturally from your body, adding only a slight extension to reach the ball. Push your rear end out as if you were about to sit down. This positioning will help maintain space between body and arms. If your rear end and hips move in toward the ball during the swing, however, you run the risk of taking the club off the correct path and hitting a shank.
Toe Board
PGA professional A.J. Bonar recommends the use of a toe board on the range to help groove a swing path that will prevent shanks. A toe board is a block of wood -- 24 inches of 2 by 4 works well -- that you place just outside the ball. Practice hitting shots with the toe board in place. If the toe of your club begins to strike the board, you know that your swing path is the type to encourage a shank. Concentrate on hitting the ball without having your club contact the board at all.
During a Round
Bonar also suggests a practice you can employ if you begin shanking balls during a round where the use of a toe board is prohibited. He advocates spending the remainder of the round trying to hit the ball on the toe of your club, exaggerating a corrective measure to keep the hosel away from the ball. While you may actually begin hitting shots on the toe of your club after some time, that tends to have less devastating results than shanks.

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