No horror in golf is worse than shanking—hitting the ball off the extreme heel of the club and having it skid crazily off to the right, sometimes at almost a right angle. After hitting his first shank a golfer gets panicky, and in his panic he keeps hitting shank after shank until his game is wrecked. Just to talk about it makes the blood run cold.
Many experts contend there is no cure for shanking except to give the game up for a while. I am inclined to disagree for the good reason that I have been able to cure hundreds of cases. Shanking is 90% mental. It is also a temporary disease. The best method of treating a temporary disease is a temporary cure.
I use positive methods on the practice tee in beginning the cure. Instead of telling the afflicted golfer not to be conscious of the heel of the blade, I stress that he should line the ball up at the toe of the blade. After a couple of trial swings, I start him hitting toe shots, the opposite of shanks. Even a poorly hit toe shot goes out there pretty well. Then, after the golfer has hit 50 or so toe shots, I gradually move the ball to the center of the blade. Invariably, he plays good shots with increasing confidence. His shanking troubles are over.
from GENE ANDERSEN, pro at Oyster Harbors Club, Osterville, Mass.
At left, how the toe shot looks to the golfer. Above, a close-up of ball and blade on the toe shot
NEXT WEEK'S PRO: CLAUDE HARMON ON SQUARING THE CLUB FACE