I think most golfers will agree, when I say that a shanked chip is a terrible shot to hit. In the following I will teach you the 5 most common reasons why you are shanking chip shots, and in the end I will reveal the best and most simple way to fix this issue. Lets get started.
What is a shank at all?
The simplest way to explain why you are shanking chips shots is that the clubhead has been moved closer towards the ball than were it started to be. This will cause the strike point on the clubhead to be on the hosel (learn what the hosel is here) of the wedge, and that is a shank.
1. Check your Setup!
A very common reason to a shank starts already at setup. If you are to close to the ball before starting your motion, there is a great chance of the club moving away from the body due to the lack of space through the impact zone.
A good guideline for most players is that from a relaxed, bend forward position, the arms should be hanging straight down from the shoulders.
Use a mirror or your smartphone to check your setup position.
2. Where is your weight going?
The second very common reasons why you are shanking chip shots, is that the weight of your body moves towards the ball during the chipping motion. Often this can be felt in the shoes, where the weight will move towards the toes.
In order to prevent this, try chipping with your toes pressed up towards to inside top of your shoes.
3. Is you head going the wrong way?
A third very common reason to a shank is when the head moves towards to ball during the chipping motion. The head is the center of the swing and when the head moves in a certain direction, there is a great chance of the clubhead following. Therefore, make sure to keep the head still during the motion.
This might surprise you:
If the head should move anywhere, it should move up, and away from the ball a little bit. This is actually movements you will see many of the best chippers in the world perform. These head movements start already during the downswing.
4. Keep your arms close!
The fourth often seen mistake that causes shanking, is that the arms moves further away form the body during the motion. When this happens, the shaft of the club is moved closer towards the ball, and it will in many cases cause a shank. Make sure that you arms and hands is the same distance away from your body at impact, as they where at setup.
This can be hard to fell for the player. A good way to check this is by using the camera in you smartphone. When watching the video of the motion, it will be quite clear, if the hands and arms have moved further away form the body at impact relative to their position at setup.
5. Check your handpath
The last common reason for a shank is a bit more complicated than the first 4. We are now talking about a path, more specific the path that the hands travel on during the impact zone. If this path is moving too much to the right, for too long time, there is a great risk of hitting a shank.
The easiest way to fix a shank
The absolute easiest way to fix a shank, is by doing the following drill:
Place two golfballs, with a little less than a golfball size in-between, as shown on the left picture below. The goal is to hit the front ball, and DONT hit the rear ball during the shot. This will insure the clubhead is not moving away from the player which is what causes the shank.
You’ve now been through the 5 most common reasons why you are shanking chip shots. Other reasons do exists, and if your interested in knowing more about the basis technique of a chip shot, I would highly recommend studying the 9 Best Chipping Tips For Instant Better Performance Around the Green.