upright-swing

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that cause the most problems in the golf swing. The mis-step of standing too close to the ball at address can lead to a whole host of swing problems. This is likely why this is one of the toughest games in the world to master. The act of standing too close to the ball can ultimately lead to one of these three common swing faults: shanks, over-the-top swing path and poor contact. In this article we’re going to explain how this mistake can lead to a host of problems, and why it’s so incredibly important to check your address position before each and every shot.

Fixing The Shanks

Alright, so this video below actually explains it best, but here’s a summary: Your arms need room to swing the club down to impact. If you’re standing too close to the ball, you’re reducing the amount of ‘room’ you have. This then causes one of two things – either your arms will come into impact in a more upright position (which we’ll go into more detail a bit later), or, your hands will push out from your body as you swing into impact. This move is what causes a bunch of heeled shots, and ultimately the inevitable shank. The simple fix to this fault is to stand further away from the ball, but you may find that your swing has grooved this “pushing-out” move. You’ll have to shock your swing out of it. Try this drill: First, address the ball in the correct position, but setup a tee about 1″ off your ball perpendicular to your target line. Your goal is to make a swing, hit the ball, and miss the tee. You will likely feel like you’re pulling your swing inside, but don’t worry, this is just because you’re so used to the pushing-out move. Hit 10-20 balls like this, and then address the ball normally and swing. You should see a big difference.

In the video below we go into more detail about where you should be positioned:

Fixing Over The Top

The next two faults, sort of go hand in hand. When you stand too close to the ball, your swing is immediately forced to be more upright. When this happens, keeping your swing path in-check as you come into impact becomes very difficult. Your ability to swing the club with lag and attack the ball from the inside also disappears. Ultimately you have no choice but to come over-the-top into ball. This move is often accompanied with an early wrists release, that robs you of power and the chance of solid contact. For this fault, we recommend the baseball swing drill, as it emphasizes the importance of your swing path into the ball. Without a ball, grab a club and swing it as if it were a baseball bat. This move lets you feel an extremely flat swing path, and should help ween you off your upright one. When you address the ball after performing this drill, really focus on getting yourself into the right posture as indicated by this video.

Inconsistent Contact

A poor swing path is often accompanied with poor ball contact. Your golf clubs are designed to lie at specific angle. If you lay your club’s sole flat on the ground, you should be able to address the ball without moving the club much. If you do have to move the club, or find that either the heel or toe of your club is in the air – you’re either not fitted for your clubs, or your posture needs some attention. Regardless, your swing path ultimately dictates your clubs approach to the ball. An upright swing path usually cause the heel to be above the ground as you approach impact, this then means that the toe of your club is hitting the ground first. As this happens, the toe of the club slows down, and the clubface opens at impact, and the result is most commonly a weak fade or slice. Depending on how much your push-out your swing from your body (previously discussed), you can also get heel-first or even thin contact. The best drill for this type of fault is to get a friend to check your address position, and see how your club lies – or better yet go to a fitting professional and get fitted for clubs. For those of you a little on the frugal side, addressing the ball in front of a mirror should give a bunch of feedback on your address position, and how your clubs are lieing.

You can see how gone unchecked, a simple fault can lead to a whole host of problems. And for many of us, we tend to focus too much on the end-result in attempts to fix the fault. For example, a common result of this fault is fade or slice, and many people out there will try and fix this by simply making a stronger grip, or closing their stance, but unfortunately the root of the problem remains. We hope these drills will help you rid your setup of this annoying, but common fault.

Give it a try!

Shanks have a variety of causes, but nearly all of them are swing path related. Whether you shank the ball by coming over the top, or letting the club drift away from you at impact – your swing path is ultimately the source of your problems. In this drill, we focus on a shank that is caused by a club that is travelling along an in to out swing path into the ball. This fault is most commonly caused by a poor weight shift, improper wrists rotation through impact, or a poor impact position (especially with the shoulders).

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1598-Golf-Shank

The Golf ShankThe dreaded shank – hosel rocket, el hosel, shankapotamus, socketing, shanks for the memories. Many consider it the worst shot in golf. Arguably, most golfers admit that it is not technically a “golf shot” because it’s an unintentional action not a purposeful shot.

Answers.com defines the shank as:

“Hitting the golf ball with the heel of the club, causing the ball to veer in the wrong direction.”

And Brent Kelley on About.com’s Golf Guide defines it as:

“….a mis-hit that is so bad the golfer makes contact with the ball with a part of the club other than the clubface….someone who shanks a lot might be said to “have the shanks” or be “shanking it”. A shank is one of the worst mis-hits in golf; in fact, many golfers don’t even like saying the word out loud”.

 

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closedstance

The shanks are not a laughing matter (except for your playing buddies, when you choke, and shank one from the fairway of 18). For many of us, “getting the shanks” is a plague to our morale, and handicaps. For others, a shanked shot, is a “whoops” and the game goes on. Regardless of what group you’re in, understanding the causes of the shank will get you on your way to weeding this fault out of your golf game. We’ll cover the three most common causes for a shank and how to fix them in this post. Enjoy!

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feet_balance_shank

We all hate hitting a shank. The root cause of it is a weight-shift issue. I’m not talking about the normal weight shift as you swing into the ball, but a weight shift towards the ball. The problems source lies in the feet… and the movement is so miniscule, it’s hard to believe it can be such a problem.

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fix your shank video

Hey everyone, thanks for stopping by – we’ve got a quick little post today. The shank plagues many of us; quite often it creeps into our swing when we are in high-pressure situations. This is when fundamentals are key. Ensuring you’re the proper distance from the ball and your weight is properly balanced is key to avoiding the shank. ‘The Golf Fix’ has a rather high octane version of this fundamental check up. Watch below…

 

 

A re-cap…

1) Stand the proper distance from the ball – bend at your hips, with a straight back. Your arms should be resting in front of your belt buckle. When viewed from behind your arms should be hanging close to straight down. Standing too tall or too far from the ball will cause poor posture, leading to poor contact.

2) Balance – your body weight needs to rest on the center of your feet, if it rest either on your heels or your toes, your weight will shift during your swing leading to inconsistent contact.

Enjoy!

 

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1087-shanktee

Anti-Shank Drill

I’ve been getting a lot of mail lately about any good cures for a shank. I hate even typing the word, but this post is to all those readers! The shank is like a virus in the fact that once you catch it, you can’t seem to get rid of it. It’s by far the most frustrating and embarrassing shot in golf.

 

If you swing the club on such an exaggerated out to in swing path that the neck or hosel of the club makes contact with the ball and not the clubface, you’ve hit a shank. The result is a shot that heads dead right. I’ve come across a great drill to help get rid your shank.

You’ll notice I don’t shank it here, read more, and find out why.

The Drill:

Take a look at the picture on the right. I’ve set up three tees in front of my ball a couple inches apart, and one tee back about a foot, just inside the line of the third tee. Following me so far? Okay, setup and place the clubhead behind the ball, you should have enough room on your takeaway to clear the back tee. Now your goal is to swing, miss the back tee on your downswing and hit the right-side tee. Until you can do this consistently, just keep replacing the outside tee. This will encourage you to swing on an in-to-out swing path… the opposite of what you were doing before (the main cause of your shank). Eventually, work towards hitting the middle tee only.

Give it a try, and take a pill to cure your shank!