I debated whether or not to post this article because that terrible five-letter work sends shivers down my spine. The shank is probably the scariest shot out there for any golfer. It can appear at any time, and completely debilitate a player.
That being said, I think it's good to get something like this out in the open because there are reasonable steps you can take to deal with it. I myself have dealt with the shanks, and spent a whole summer worrying before every shot if the next one was going to be a hosel rocket. It wasn't fun, but I ultimately got past it because I finally just said to myself that if happens I can deal with the consequences.
Is it Mental Problem, or a Physical One?
Well that depends who you ask. A sports psychologist would tell you that the fear in your mind is ultimately causing your body to make the movement that results in the shank. The remedy is usually something like this:
- Try not to focus on the negative outcome
- Stick to your routine
- Accept the consequences
These are all great suggestions, and a mix of them have helped me overcome my bout with the shanks.
There is also great value in understanding what actually is going on with your swing when a shank occurs. Some players respond better to a technical cue in this situation. They might think something is going on in there swing to cause it to occur that is simply not true.
Here is a great video from Andrew Rice to help you understand what is actually occurring in your golf swing. I strongly suggest you watch it if this is a serious issue for you.
Andrew believes you have to do your best to remove emotion from the equation. This is incredibly hard to do, but he is right. In order to conquer the shank you have to deal with the mental and physical side of the issue. Give his drill a try on the range, I really think it could help you out.
This issue is not the end of the world. You will eventually get past it if you can find a way to minimize your fears, understand the issue in your swing, and deal with the consequences if it occurs. I find the best way to deal with any awful shot on the golf course is to simply laugh it off, and just move on.
Easier said than done, but just remember golf is just a game.