Contrary to what many golfers think, the shank is not caused by an improper swing path. Rather, it's a result of the golfer failing to rotate the clubface from open to closed through impact. A swing path that comes from way outside the target line can exacerbate the problem, but the golfer who hits shanks doesn't allow the forearms to rotate the clubface toward the target. This means the face is open and the hosel makes contact with the ball.
Correct this mistake by letting the clubface "release" through impact. A great drill for this is to focus on your thumbs, because they indicate the position of the clubface. So at impact, your thumbs should be pointing directly at the ball (right). And as you follow through, they should be turned and pointing at your target.
DEAN REINMUTH, ranked 48th on Golf Digest's list of the 50 Greatest Teachers, is based at the Santaluz Club in San Diego.