#TuesdayGolfClinic VIDEO: David Leadbetter’s 4 Tips for Eliminating Shanks



Welcome to another edition of #TuesdayGolfClinic in which we:

  • Field your golf questions submitted via social media (Facebook and Twitter), through comments at this blog and via email.

  • Offer golf instruction and golf tips to help you improve your game and enjoy golf more.

This week we offer a Golf Digest video featuring golf instructor David Leadbetter.

David Leadbetter has coached many amateur and professional golfers throughout his long teaching career, including six players who ranked No. 1 in the world and a combination of players who have won 18 major championships.

In the above video, Leadbetter offers simple tips for avoiding the shank, that horrible shot that’s struck too close to the hosel of an iron and screams to the right at roughly a 45-degree angle if you’re a right-handed golfer. The shank can seriously mess with your head. As Johnny Miller likes to say, “The scariest shot in golf is the shot following a shank.”

Personally, I struggle with hitting an occasional shank when I haven’t been playing much golf. Instead of maintaining good posture, I have a tendency to sway forward on my downswing. I’m not too surprised when I see the ball squirt dead right.

Here are Leadbetter’s pointers for eliminating shanks:

  1. Lighten your grip pressure. “When you’re scared, tension creeps in,” he says. You want “nice soft hands on the club.”

  2. Turn up your toes. This is a technique for keeping your weight more toward your heels. “Turning your toes up helps solidify your balance,” he says.

  3. Keep your hands close to your body. “When you hit a shank,” he says, “wherever your hands are to start with at address, it means at impact they’re further away than where they started.” Keep your hands close to (or from moving farther away from) the body. Leadbetter also says it’s good to feel as if you’re hitting the ball off the toe of the club.

  4. Stay upright. Keep your chest up. “The interesting thing when people shank is you see they dive at the ball,” he says. Good posture can cure that problem and help eliminate shanks. “That tall feeling allows you to get your hands closer to your body.”


“The shank is a nasty shot,” Leadbetter concludes, “but if you follow these four ingredients, you’ll eliminate them.”

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Neil Sagebiel

Neil Sagebiel is a golf writer and author of two golf books published by St. Martin's Press, THE LONGEST SHOT and DRAW IN THE DUNES. He lives in Floyd, Virginia.

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