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Stop Shanking Chip Shots: Proven Techniques for a Better Short Game

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stop shanking chip shots

You’re out on the golf course and you’ve just hit a fantastic drive. You are only a short distance from the green. The pressure is on as you prepare to make a chip shot that could save par and keep your golf score intact. But, just as you swing, you shank the ball, which veers off-course, leaving you frustrated and disappointed.

If this scenario sounds all too familiar, and you regularly hit a hosel rocket, you’re not alone. Shanking chip shots or short shots is a common issue faced by not just amateur golfers, but golfers of all levels. The good news though is you can conquer your chipping yips, because this guide will help you stop shanking chip shots, improve your short game, and lower your golf scores. So, let’s dive into the world of chip shots and discover some great golf tips to conquer shanking once and for all and stop blading short chips to the right.

Understanding Shanking in Chip Shots

A shank is when the golf ball makes contact with the heel of the club, resulting in a shot that veers sharply to the right for a right-handed golfer or to the left for a left-handed golfer. Shanking chip shots can be incredibly frustrating, as they often occur during critical moments in a round of golf.

Reasons Why You Are Shanking Chip Shots

  1. Poor setup and alignment: Standing too close to the ball or having improper body alignment can lead to shanking your chip shots.
  2. Incorrect weight distribution: Shifting too much weight to your heels or toes during the swing can cause the club to make contact with the ball at an undesirable angle.
  3. Swing path issues: An outside-in swing path, where the club moves away from the target line during the backswing, can increase the likelihood of shanking chip shots.
  4. Lifting your rear heel: lifting the heel of your rear foot as you swing down will cause you to shift your hips forward toward the ball. The consequence of this is that your arms and hands will also shift forward causing the heel of the golf club to hit the ball rather than the sweet spot.

Essential Tips to Stop Shanking Chip Shots

Adjusting Your Setup

  • Proper stance width: Position your feet about hip-width apart, ensuring that you’re not too close to the ball or reaching from far away.
  • Ball position: Place the golf ball just off the inside of your left foot (for right-handed golfers; vice versa for left-handed golfers) to promote solid contact with the clubface.
  • Clubface alignment: Aim the face of the club directly at your target while keeping the leading edge of the clubface perpendicular to the target line.

Focusing on Weight Distribution

  • Establishing the correct balance: Maintain your weight evenly distributed on the balls of your feet, leaning slightly towards your lead shoulder. This will help you stop leaving your weight on the back foot.
  • Smooth weight transfer during the swing: As you swing, ensure that your weight shifts smoothly from your back to your front foot without swaying or losing balance.
  • Roll your rear foot inwards: By rolling your rear foot inwards towards the target, you stop your heel from lifting up and pushing your hips towards the ball.
stop shanking chip shots

Correcting Your Swing Path

  • Avoiding the outside-in swing: To prevent an outside-in swing, keep the club moving along the target line during the backswing and follow-through.
  • Practicing the inside-out swing: A great drill to develop an inside-out swing path is placing a tee about 6 inches behind the ball and slightly inside the target line. When swinging down into the hitting area, try to hit the tee to encourage the proper swing path as you take practice swings.
  • Lead with your left hand: Try and feel that you are pulling with your left hand/left side rather than pushing with the right. Pushing with the right hand/right shoulder can cause you to present the hosel of the club to the ball.

Drills to Overcome Shanking in Chip Shots

  1. The Divot Drill

Purpose of the drill: This simple drill aims to improve your ball-striking consistency and prevent shanks by ensuring the clubface makes contact with the ball before the ground.

How to perform the drill: Place a golf ball on the ground and take your normal chipping stance. Position the ball about 3 inches behind your left heel. Then, without moving your body, make a normal chipping motion, attempting to create a divot in front of the ball. As you improve, gradually move the ball closer to your left heel until you consistently strike the ball with the sweet spot of the club face.

Expected results: As you practice this drill, you’ll develop a better sense of proper ball position and weight distribution, reducing the likelihood of shanking your chip shots.

  1. The Tee Drill

Purpose of the drill: The Tee Drill aims to correct swing path issues and promote an inside-out swing path, minimizing the chances of shanking chip shots.

How to perform the drill: Insert a tee into the ground about 4 inches outside of your golf ball and slightly ahead of it on the target line. Address the ball as usual, and while making your chipping motion, avoid hitting the tee. This will encourage an inside-out swing path and help prevent shanking.

Expected results: Practicing the Tee Drill consistently will help you develop a more effective and accurate golf swing path, reducing the chances of shanking your golf shots.

stop shanking chip shots
  1. The Towel Drill

Purpose of the drill: The Towel Drill is designed to improve your body’s stability and connection throughout the swing motion, addressing one of the common reasons for shanking chip shots.

How to perform the drill: Tuck a small towel or glove under your left arm (for right-handed golfers) and hold it against your body as you take your normal chipping stance. Then, swing the club forward without allowing the towel to fall out, maintaining pressure between your upper arm and torso. This will help you keep your arms and body connected during the swing.

Expected results: By practicing the towel drill, you’ll develop better control and stability in your chipping motion, ultimately reducing the risk of a shank chip shot.

The Two-Ball Drill

Purpose of the drill: The Two-Ball Drill focuses on improving your ability to make clean contact with the ball by promoting a shallow angle of attack, which can help prevent shanking chip shots.

How to perform the drill: Place two golf balls side by side, one slightly forward and closer to the target than the other. Address the rear ball as you would for a regular chip shot. As you swing, try to strike the rear ball without touching the front ball. This will encourage a shallow angle of attack and help you avoid hitting the ground or the club’s hosel.

Expected results: Practicing the Two-Ball drill will help you achieve a more consistent and shallow angle of attack, reducing the likelihood of shanks on chip shots.

The Gate Drill

Purpose of the drill: The Gate Drill is designed to improve clubface control and alignment throughout the swing, helping to eliminate shanking in chip shots by ensuring proper clubface-to-ball contact.

How to perform the drill: Create a “gate” by placing two tees in the ground about 4 inches apart, with enough space for your club head to pass between them. Position a golf ball in line with the gate and take your normal chipping stance. Next, swing the club through the gate, ensuring the clubface remains square to the target line while avoiding contact with the tees.

Expected results: The Gate Drill will help you develop better clubface control and alignment throughout your swing, reducing the chances of shanking your chip shots.

The Alignment Stick Drill

Purpose of the drill: The Alignment Stick Drill helps you identify and correct swing path issues by providing immediate feedback on the direction of your swing, thus preventing shanks in chip shots.

How to perform the drill: Place an alignment stick (or a golf club) on the ground, parallel to your target line, and a few inches outside your golf ball. Take your normal chipping stance, addressing the ball with the club head hovering above the alignment stick. As you make your chipping motion, focus on keeping the clubhead parallel to the alignment stick during the backswing and follow-through.

Expected results: By practicing the Alignment Stick Drill, you’ll better understand your swing path and improve your ability to maintain the correct path throughout your swing, ultimately reducing the likelihood of shanking chip shots.

The Impact Bag Drill

Purpose of the drill: The Impact Bag Drill promotes a stable and square clubface at impact, which is crucial for avoiding shanked chip shots.

How to perform the drill: Place an impact bag (or a folded towel) on the ground where you would typically place a golf ball for a chip shot. Take your normal chipping stance and address the bag like a golf ball. Then, make your chipping motion, striking the bag with the clubface while ensuring that the clubface remains square to the target line at impact.

Expected results: The Impact Bag Drill will help you better control your clubface at impact, leading to cleaner contact with the ball and a reduced likelihood of shanking chip shots.

Additional Tips for Consistent Chipping Success

  • Choosing the right club for each situation: Experiment with different clubs for different chip shot scenarios, such as using a lob wedge for high, soft shots or a 7-iron for low, running shots.
  • Practicing under pressure: Simulate pressure situations during practice, like attempting to get up and down from a challenging lie or chipping over a hazard.
  • Developing a pre-shot routine: Establish a consistent routine before each chip shot, including selecting your target, visualizing the shot, and taking a few practice swings.

Bonus Tip – For the most comprehensive guide on chipping, including flop shots, bump and runs, and bunker shots, see our golf chipping page and chip shot meaning page.

Conclusion

Now that you have a better understanding of the correct chipping technique and drills necessary to stop shanking chip shots, it’s time to hit the practice green and put these tips into action. Remember, consistency is key, so be patient and practice regularly to see improvements in your short game

With time and dedication, you’ll be well on your way to eliminating shanked chip shots and achieving lower golf scores. So, grab your clubs and get ready to master the art of chip shots!

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AUTHOR

Tommy is a confirmed golf fanatic. He's been playing golf for 20 years and just loves everything about the game. His dad used to play golf a lot and watch the PGA and European Tours, so Tommy started watching too. Now he knows a lot about golf and loves to coach people and help them play better.

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