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Symptom: You having trouble with the s-word, the golf shank. You need to fix your golf shank and fast, but you are not sure why you shank the golf ball in the first place.
And you don’t like it very much and wish it would just stop or else you are going to quit this stupid game forever…
Overview: On the range, put down two balls — the one you want to hit, and another one about three inches further away from you. Line up and hit the closest ball with solid technique. (Obviously you should miss the other ball).
Why it works: The two-ball drill helps your swing in a simple, non-technical way. To avoid hitting the outermost ball, you will instinctively come at the (innermost) ball on a more inside path, with more lag, and hence will not come over the top. This will fix your golf shank.
Fix Your Golf Shank with the Two-Ball Drill
The cause of a golf shank is striking the ball on the hosel, where the clubhead meets the shaft. If this is a chronic problem for you, then you likely have a severe over-the-top, casting move on your downswing. To compound matters, it’s very hard to keep your balance with such an ugly swing, which only adds to the inconsistency and frustration. It’s bad news all around.
With this inside swing path, you will be more likely to hit the ball at the four o’clock position, which is what you need to straighten out a slice or hit a draw or, yes, avoid the golf shank. Understanding the cause of the golf shank helps you understand why the two-ball drill is such a powerful fix.
No matter how low your handicap, you can still shank from time to time. Just ask these pro golfers:
Use the Golf Shank Cure on the Course
Sometimes, you can start to feel “the shanks” coming on as you work on your swing or play your round. Shanks are always caused by hitting the ball off the hosel instead of the clubface, no matter who or where you are. No need to wait until you spot the dreaded sh*** to deploy the trusty two-ball drill! Even on the golf course, you can use a dandelion, or a stick, or a mark on the ground as your outer ball for a couple of practice swings. Maybe, just maybe, this drill could help you save your round and keep those high numbers off your scorecard!
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Symptom: Your golf downswing causes you to lose your balance as you swing. You start the downswing poorly, and so you can’t recover. Your golf downswing doesn’t look like the guys on TV. Nobody is saying “nice golf swing” after you hit, even if it does happen to go approximately where you were aiming…
Description: For a proper golf downswing, start the downswing by bringing your right elbow to your side and keeping it there until the release.
Why it Works: Starting the downswing by bringing your right elbow back to your side keeps the club on the proper plane, and keeps your center of gravity well controlled. This allows you to spin faster through the ball, with better control, and in balance.
The Right Elbow in the Golf Downswing
Have a look at Rory McIlroy’s swing, and focus on his downswing, especially the start of his downswing as he drives toward the ball.
All good players, but Rory in particular, return their right elbow to their side on the downswing. See picture at the right. Rory does this to start the downswing, which would lead to a very inside path for his clubhead if he did not compensate by also aggressively rotating his hips through the ball. His arms sort of “come along for the ride” and release the club down the line. It’s this aggressive body rotation through the ball, enabled by his very-tucked right elbow at the start of the downswing, that gives him his tremendous power and balance.
Bring the Right Elbow in to Start the Downswing
The point is that if you are having trouble keeping your balance at the end of the swing, you are probably throwing yourself off balance during the start of the downswing with a casting motion, and your right elbow is far from your side. This is giving you a poor downswing plane, and causing you to slice. Take a tip from Rory and bring that right elbow to your side sooner!
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In this video post, we take a look at Justin Thomas.
In particular, his golf setup and golf alignment routine that he goes through before he addresses the golf ball. Mundane, you say? Very few things can help you improve faster than getting into the proper golf address position with proper golf alignment on each and every shot.
I often see my playing partners neglect this part of the game. It is a shame. If you don’t get your golf setup, golf alignment, and golf aim right, you cannot possibly execute your best swing at your intended target. It is the Aim->Align->Execute method. You will hardly ever see a pro skip this step. But, you also seldom see this shown on TV.
Golf Alignment is Key
Watch his setup and preparation to hit this golf shot. It is a practice round, or a pro-am, or something (see the golf cart? note that there are no spectators?). But this does not deter Justin from going through his routine, because you do it every time. Even at the driving range. Yes, even at the driving range. How else will you improve.
Golf Aim Before Golf Address
Notice how he picks a definite, distant target to aim at. Once he finds his close-in spot he aligns his clubface and builds his stance around this spot. He checks his distant target a couple of times after building his stance on his intended line. His stance is athletic, as if he about to sit on a bar stool. Then he finally pulls the trigger (0:25) and executes his shot.
His alignment and setup routine is methodical, repeatable, and meticulous. This, plus a whole lot of talent and hard work, surely contributes to Justin’s success.
You probably can’t generate the clubhead speed that Justin does. But you can surely copy his setup and alignment routine before addressing the ball the next time you play at your home course, or at the local driving range. Give it a try, I guarantee you will bring more consistency to your game!
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