How He Hit ThatMarch 2, 2015

How He Hit That: Ian Poulter's Honda-dooming shank

Like "yips," "shank" is a word PGA Tour players don't even like to say, never mind actually do.

<br / / / /></div><div><div><div><span style="font-size: 15px;">Ian Poulter can avoid saying "shank" if he chooses, but video from the final round at the Honda tells the story. On the tee at the par-3, 174-yard fifth hole, Poulter shanked his 8-iron dead right. The ball bounced on the cart path and into the water, leading to a double bogey that dropped him from the lead permanently. He ended up shooting 74 and missing the Padraig Harrington-Daniel Berger playoff by a shot.</span></div><div><span style="font-size: 15px;"><br / / / /></span></div><div><span style="font-size: 15px;">"Tour players usually hit a shank--when the ball hits the hosel and comes off sideways--when they apply force a little differently in the downswing, like trying to hit it harder or softer," says 50 Best Teacher Brian Manzella. "Poulter said after his round that the shank--and some of the other bad shots he hit--came when he was trying to take something off it."</span></div><div><span style="font-size: 15px;"><br / / / /></span></div><div><span style="font-size: 15px;">The most common shank for the average player comes on a shorter shot, or one where the player consciously opens the clubface a bit more in an effort to produce some height. "Take a wedge shot," says Manzella. "If you open the face, it can make it so that it feels like the shaft itself--and the hosel--is the sweet spot. Then you swing down feeling like the point for center contact is at the end of the shaft, when really it's offset from that."</span></div><div><span style="font-size: 15px;"><br / / / /></span></div><div><span style="font-size: 15px;">If you find yourself out there hitting shanks in the middle of the round, focus on turning your lead arm down, toward the ball, on the downswing. "Turning that arm down should automatically make your arms start moving toward your body," says Manzella, who is based at English Turn Golf & Country Club in New Orleans. "That will cure a vast majority of shanks the average player gets." </span></div></div></div><div><br / / / /></div></div>

Ian Poulter can avoid saying "shank" if he chooses, but video from the final round at the Honda tells the story. On the tee at the par-3, 174-yard fifth hole, Poulter shanked his 8-iron dead right. The ball bounced on the cart path and into the water, leading to a double bogey that dropped him from the lead permanently. He ended up shooting 74 and missing the Padraig Harrington-Daniel Berger playoff by a shot.

"Tour players usually hit a shank--when the ball hits the hosel and comes off sideways--when they apply force a little differently in the downswing, like trying to hit it harder or softer," says 50 Best Teacher Brian Manzella. "Poulter said after his round that the shank--and some of the other bad shots he hit--came when he was trying to take something off it."

The most common shank for the average player comes on a shorter shot, or one where the player consciously opens the clubface a bit more in an effort to produce some height. "Take a wedge shot," says Manzella. "If you open the face, it can make it so that it feels like the shaft itself--and the hosel--is the sweet spot. Then you swing down feeling like the point for center contact is at the end of the shaft, when really it's offset from that."

If you find yourself out there hitting shanks in the middle of the round, focus on turning your lead arm down, toward the ball, on the downswing. "Turning that arm down should automatically make your arms start moving toward your body," says Manzella, who is based at English Turn Golf & Country Club in New Orleans. "That will cure a vast majority of shanks the average player gets."

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