But the occasional one-off Lucy Locket (socket) ball is allowable, it's when this dreaded virus spreads to virtually every club in the bag that a golfer's score and sanity are equally threatened. Our editor, for example, is an expert on the phenomenon, having once had a golf lesson in which he shanked every ball for half-an-hour, using every club in his bag except the putter.
Johnny Miller only ever shanked once, at Pebble Beach, but has said that for ever after, whenever he approached a less than full shot with a wedge, he said to himself: 'Now you're not going to shank this, are you?'
The only lasting solution, of course, is to put yourself under the gaze of a PGA pro and find oiut why you're doing it - and the causes can be legion but here's a 'quick fix' or band aid solution that may at least get you to the end of the round, and it's stunningly simple.
Because the shank is caused by striking the ball near or at the heel of the club (where it joins the shaft), afflicted golfers tend to address the ball off the toe of the club but this often exaggerates, rather than cures, the fault. Instead, address the ball with the heel of the club and then try and hit it off the toe.
And if you get a chance to visit a driving range, try practising with a head cover or some other (soft) piece of equipment a couple of inches outside your ball (as you look down on it). Both techniques ensure you swing inside the line and hopefully don't present the hosel of the club to the ball first.
|| 23 - APRIL 2002