Solving 'Shanks'

June 25 2005 at 10:57 PM
Snakedoc  (Login Snakedoc)
Blake Moderator Emeritus

Response to Shanks

When dealing with my 'shanks', or shots that squirt off to the right, I find the following to be helpful. First, I check to be sure whether I'm striking the ball with the club hosel/heel. IMO, the reason a true shank is considered so embarrassing is that it would seem to be a beginner-type shot--a gross error. I notice in the two DVDs featuring Richard Wax that he addresses the ball just inside the 'sweet spot' of iron clubs. He may be accounting for centrifugal force, assuring that club will strike the ball on the face. My so-called 'shanks' are not shots striking the hosel/heel.

In his first book Mindy recommended addressing the ball inside (closer to his body) to account for the 'pull' of centrifugal force. I intentionally backswing slowly and try to feel the weight of the clubhead, both on way back and way down. Blake might have called it dragging the club back and dragging it down. A stance alteration allowed Mindy to place the club directly behind the ball.

In his 'Essentials of the Golf Swing', John Redman comes closest to the idea of dragging the club back and dragging it down. He thought hip turn should drag the club back to top of backswing and hip 'un-turn' should drag the club down and through. The main difference between Redman and Blake is that Redman thought there should be 'wrist release' in the impact zone of downswing. (Note: Blake and Redman differed in their thoughts on energy source--Blake thought it to be the legs, Redman the hips.) In my version of this I swing back very slowly, feeling centrifugal force even on the way back, then 'hesitate'for the legs to do their thing. When executed properly, the club is dragged, or 'pulled', if you will--down. My 'mastery' of the reflex swing, to the extent it exists, is in executing a 1/2 to 3/4 pitch shot with, let's say, a nine iron, with which I have no feeling of the 'hit impulse'. The shot is straight, no draw or fade, and distance is quite predictable.

My stance is not as open as Mindy's. A stance closer to square as in Blake's GSotF address feel most comfortable to me. I'm now trying to set up with a more open stance. If I can do this and overcome any residual 'hit impulse' for full swings, I will be a happy man (in my golfing life) In the past couple weeks I have tried reducing the amount of spine angle (bending over from the waist) and, instead, bending the knees a bit more. I'm quite pleased with the result. What is the climate like down there this time of year? Regards, SD

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