What Is A Shank In Golf? – Explained!

what is a shank in golf

Golf is known to be a technical sport full of technical terms that you may not know the meaning of. One of those golf terms commonly mentioned on golf courses and TV broadcasts is the word “Shank”.

If you are reading this article, you may wonder: What exactly does a “Shank” mean in golf?

In this article, we will explain to you exactly what a “Shank” is in golf.

What Is A Shank In Golf?

In golf, a shank refers to the act of hitting the golf ball with the base of the hosel, in the corner of the club head. A shank is essentially a missed shot with poor ball-to-clubface contact. A shank is likely to send the golf ball flying sharply towards the golfer’s front side.

In the great game of golf, the term “Shank” is a word that is sometimes mentioned on golf courses, especially if there are many casual or inexperienced golfers in the area.

In golf, a “Shank” is a golf swing that makes bad contact between the golf ball and the golf club’s face. A shank will hit the intersection between the club head face and the base of the hosel rather than the center of the face.

A shank will typically result in the ball’s trajectory going somewhere around 45 degrees away from the golfer who hit the ball. In other words, a shank usually results in a severe “pull” on the golf ball. The angle the ball shoots outwards can be more or less than 45 degrees.

The angle the ball flies outwardly at depends on how much your golf club head is rotated towards the ball upon contact. The more square your club head is to the ball, the smaller the angle of the shank away from the straight ahead direction will be.

Down below is an image illustrating exactly where the ball hit the golf club if you hit a shank:

The Shank Zone of a Golf Club
The Shank Zone of a Golf Club

As you can see on the image above, you are not going to get an accurate golf shot if you hit the ball with the hosel of your club.

A shank is a really bad shot that you want to avoid at all costs because it will send your ball flying into the rough. This will adversely affect your score, and it will be a pain to leave the rough on your subsequent stroke.

If you are often hitting shanks, practice hitting golf ball by slowing down your swing. This will give you more time and control to line up the golf ball with the sweet spot of your golf club.

The sweet spot of your golf club is the exact center of the face of the club head. Hit the sweet spot, and your golf strokes will go much further, even though you expend the exact same amount of energy. You can also hit the golf ball a lot straighter if you hit the sweet spot.

An interesting note to make is that people commonly mistakenly use the word “shank” for any bad golf shot, but “shank” only refers to shots where the ball hits something else than the club head’s face.

Origin Of The Term “Shank”

Linguistic experts claim that the term “Shank” used to refer to the lower part of the leg. In the butchery lexicon, the term shank is still used to designate animal legs.

Golf clubs share a stunning resemblance between the lower half of a human leg, and their foot. If you point your ankle at just the right ankle, you can see the resemblance in shape between your leg, or shank, and a golf club. The shank refers mostly to the lower leg, without the foot.

When you hit a “shank” in golf, you make contact between the ball and a part of the golf club other than the club face, usually the shaft or hosel. Carrying on with the leg metaphor, when you hit a “shank”, you are hitting the shank (lower leg) of your golf club (leg + foot).

This leg metaphor is where the term “Shank” received its name.

To get better at golf and reduce your likelihood of hitting shanks, you need to get better by reading our guide: How To Improve Your Golf Score? – 9 Pro Tips.

Conclusion

There you go! After reading this article, you have learned exactly what the word “Shank” means in golf.

Do you have any other words you wish to know more about? How often do you “shank” the golf ball? Let us know in the comments down below!