2 Reasons Why You Can’t Stop Shanking Chip Shots

By Todd Kolb
February 17, 2020

Always Shanking Chip Shots? You’re Probably Making One of These Common (and Completely Fixable) Chipping Mistakes.

No one really wants to talk about the shank. Most of us get chills just saying the word. But if we don’t face the reality of our shank shots, we can’t fix them. And that includes shanking chip shots.

You can find a lot of advice out there if you want to stop shanking the ball on a full swing. But those full swing golf shots aren’t the only places in your game where a hosel rocket can break your heart. It’s just as easy to shank a chip shot, and nothing is more frustrating than launching the golf ball away from a green that’s eight feet away from you.

If you struggle with shanking chip shots, I have some great tips to help you gain more confidence around the green. I’ll explain what causes a shank chip shot and highlight the two common mistakes that might be plaguing your game. More importantly, I’ll tell you how to fix these problems and give you a great drill to help you put these tips into practice.

Before you know it, you’ll get rid of those chipping yips and approach the green with confidence.

First things first.

What Does a Shanked Golf Shot Look Like?

Let me clarify what I mean when I talk about shanking your chip shot.

Shanking is when you hit the ball on the inside of your club. More specifically, you catch the ball on the hosel, back towards the heel of the club face. When you do this, the ball shoots straight off to the right (for a right-handed golfer).

What Causes a Shank Chip Shot?

So why exactly are you shanking chip shots? Why are you consistently making contact on the hosel instead of the sweet spot?

Odds are, you’re making one of two mistakes. When my students struggle with the shank, it’s almost always for one of the following reasons.  Learn these 2 golf tips and improve your short game in minutes!

Mistake #1: Incorrect Hand Position

The next time you take your setup for a chip shot, take a look at your hands. Are they too far forward, reaching toward the target?

When your hands are too far forward, you force the club to lean forward as well. This rotates the clubface open to the right (if you’re right-handed) and exposes the heel on the downswing. Inevitably, that heel is going to hit your golf ball and send it shooting off to the right.

Mistake #2: Incorrect Swing Motion

I see a lot of golfers shanking wedges because they drag the club head inside on the backswing. To put it another way, they work the clubhead back so it’s on the same plane as their body, instead of a swing path that is straight back and straight through.

The problem? Well, when you drag the golf club inside, you rotate the club head, once again exposing the heel. You have little chance of hitting the ball with good, solid contact.  It’s really tough to make good wedge shots with the heel of the golf club

How Do You Stop Shanking Chip Shots?

So now that you know what not to do, let me give you some advice for actively eradicating that pesky shank.

First, remember these two essential tips:

  1. Take your wedge setup with the club in a neutral position.
  2. Swing the club straight back and straight through. (Here are more tips for nailing your swing motion.)

You can practice these concepts easily using my favorite drill for chipping. All you need is two tees and an alignment rod.

The Drill

  1. Lay the alignment rod on the ground alongside your ball. The rod should be pointed at the target with the ball at the center of the rod.
  2. Place a tee at either end of the alignment rod.
  3. Remove the rod.
  4. Take your wedge setup, with the shaft in a neutral position, ball position middle to slightly back in your stance.
  5. Take some practice swings, focusing on swinging the club straight over the back tee on the backswing and straight through over the front tee.
  6. Finally, make your shot, and find yourself hitting it closer to the hole in no time

This drill helps you get the proper hand position and swing motion in your body to hit the ball. Practice it regularly, and I guarantee you’ll improve your ball striking and finally stop shanking chip shots . . .

. . . most of the time. After all, even the professional golfers still feel the pain of the shank.

You Stopped Shanking Chip Shots—Now What?

While shanking the golf ball may be one of the most heartbreaking challenges of chipping, it’s not the only issue golfers struggle with. To learn about other mistakes that could be plaguing your chips shots, check out this great advice.

We also invite you to share your thoughts in the comments below. Were these tips helpful? Do you have any questions or differences of opinion you’d like to share? What about your own tips? Have you discovered other methods of fixing this problem? Tell us all about it!

For more in-depth golf swing tips, visit us at GreatGolfTipsNow.com. This new video series is completely free and packed with detailed advice to help you play better golf!

13 Comments

  1. Great drill, great advice. I’ll be working on it – believe me. When I look at the wear marks on my wedges – they are definitely closer to the heel. Duffed or shanked chip shots cost me 14 shots last round. Worst part: the rest of my game was ok. Focusing on keeping a straight left arm (I’m right handed) is another tip I’ve been told to work on. I’ve also marked a line closer to the toe to give me a visual away from the heel. Many thanks. Lloyd

  2. Lloyd,

    Thanks for the kind words and taking time to comment. Always nice to hear we are helping our fellow golfers! More great content to come…stay tuned…

  3. These were the only 2 tips that stopped my shanking! The butt going back with the face. And the tee drill! I couldn’t shake them for 3 weeks!! Thank you!

  4. That’s great to hear, thanks for reading Shannon! If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great video tips as well! Here is a link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgz5-3igA0IfsyWGKTr6YKA?sub_confirmation=1

  5. I do have an issue with this and will try your suggestions. It seems like they should work for normal lies, but I am not sure about uneven lies, etc. where I feel the need to pinch or trap the shot. Any thoughts on this?

  6. Bob,
    Thanks for the question. Here is video we did some time ago on the topic https://youtu.be/_SdS2GHyU_M

  7. Good advice…I might add turning chest to target will help considerably…it’s the damdest thing as I am a 8 Handicap and every now and then my short chip will go off to the right and there just happens to be a greenside bunker – worst feeling!!! I am a GOOD chipper and usually leave chips 4 ft or closer to pin..BUT apparently I take for granted chips and occasionally they go off to right, especially when I’m thinking about it..I have good feel for chips, but hard to shake when it happens once in a round or even once in two or three rounds …kills confidence! Thanks for tips, I think ur spot on ~ Susan …also same tempo back and thru

  8. Todd- I am so happy to watch your videos. You talk in a simple way but your teaching tips are very effective. I have been golfing for 60 years.

  9. Kim,

    Thank you for taking time out of your day to comment and for the kind words. Our team firmly believes golf is best taught in simple terms. Too often today we live in a world where people take information and make it complicated in effort to sound smart. That just in not our style! Be sure to also check out our YouTube channel and join our email list. Fairways and Greens!

  10. Susan,

    Thanks for taking time to comment. As a 8 handicap you are doing many things correct! Congrats. Appreciate you thoughts and adding to the conversation.

  11. I found that my shanking was from having my weight on the balls of my feet towards my toes. No matter how I swung, my ball would hit the hosel and just go in a straight line to the right. Apparently with my weight on my balls of my feet I was pushing the club forward therefore hitting the hosel. I started setting up with my weight on my heals and my chip shots and higher irons went the way they were supposed to., straight, high and the proper distance.

  12. Hi Todd. Thanks for the video. Like Susan I am a decent chipper, but once in a while I will send one way off to the right (I am right handed). However, when this happens, more often than not I feel like I struck the inside edge of the ball with the toe of the club. Obviously, I probably looked ahead and didn’t see the strike. Usually if I remember to see the strike, and keep a good rythm it fixes the problem.

  13. Andre,

    You are spot on…most shots that go off the right (poor contact) or the shank are caused by the clubhead working too inside on the takeaway. Thanks for posting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *