Monday, October 23, 2006 at 9:04 AM
Viewer Mail: Anonymous Writes...
The following grouchy golf observation was submitted by an anonymous grouchy golfer. I think that all golfers can relate to his story. I sure know that Darren Clarke does!
Shanks a Lot!
A little background - I am a 4 handicap, and over the winter my swing had become "unorthodox". I started standing closer to the ball, with less hip sway etc. The changes were amazing and I started playing some amazing golf. I was getting under par during some rounds, but I was just having a little trouble scoring. No biggy.
Well a week ago it all suddenly went to the crapper. I showed up at the range one day before a round and hit hosel rockets with everything. I headed out to the course and it was as if they were not there. They came and went for a few more days. Then on Saturday, I shanked so many I shot 49 on the front nine of my home course. I came back with a 37, and thought they were through. Next day I hit a few more but nothing bad.
First day of my tournament came, on Monday. I was a little nervous about shanking, but nothing came up, and I was 1 over on the front nine. I hit some more lack luster irons on the back, but nothing major round, for a 43, and an 80. I was very disappointed.
Second day was yesterday. No range at the course so no warm up. I hit a 3 wood right down the pipe on the opening short par 5. I then heeled a 3 wood so bad off the deck it dribbled into the hazard about 30 yards ahead of me. I dropped, hit two shanks, and ended up with a triple bogey. Next hole I hit a driver so far off the heel. Punched out, and had 140 to the flag. I hit another shank, flubbed a chip, and three putter for a triple. I heeled another drive on the next hole, and had to lay up. I then shanked a gap wedge and made another triple. I started with 3 triples. Next hole I actually hit a somewhat flush drive, landed in a divot, hit into another divot next to the green made bogey. I then bogeyed the next par 3. I then made a par on a par 5. Then I made an 8 on a par 3, shanking a few O.B. I ended up with a 54 on the front nine. At that point I almost just through my clubs in a lake and walked in. I decided to forge ahead, and shot a shank filled 40 on the back.
I went and played today and was probably around 50 for nine holes before quitting. I am seriously thinking of just walking away from golf for the first time in my life. I am not having any fun right now.
Sad to say I've been in a slump for the last couple of months. This spring I was scoring in the mid 80's consistently and had seen the most improvement in my game over the last year than in the last 10 years.
I was hitting screaming 300 yard drives right down the middle and was never more confident in my life. Several months ago it all fell apart and is going downhill!!
The only tee boxes I can get off now are on par 3's.
Put a driver in my hands(any of the 6 I own) and I can't get the ball to the ladies tee. All I can say is I've MASTERED the duck hook!
I love the game to a point of obsession BUT it is ZERO fun right now. I haven't broken 100 in my last 3 rounds and it SUCKS!!!
LOST and FRUSTRATED
Whenever I start feeling like that, I usually go take a lesson. You would be amazed at the level of confidence you can get from a couple sessions with a pro.
Usually your swing is pretty solid, but one or two compounded errors are causing a catastrophe at impact.
Good point! Interestingly, I took a lesson last time I ran into the dreaded hooks from the tee box and my pro and I had it fixed for about a month!
I'll be reviewing that video tape tonight - I'll bet the answer is right there on the tape!
I was hitting the ball great in the spring. Really gained a lot of accuracy and distance. I even eliminated my fade and slice and replaced it with a draw!
Then it happened.
Now I've been hitting shanks, thin shots, fat shots... you name it. Put me on the tee box of a Par 3 and I play spectacular golf. For some reason I hit an iron off of the tee just fine. Put me on the ground or put a wood in my hand, and I'll duck hook one into the woods or slice it into oblivion.
The other day I took what I thought was a nice, controlled, powerful swing with my driver. I topped the ball just off the tee about 2 feet away.
Haven't considered picking up the clubs since that round...
What amazes me is the amount of time, effort, and practice you can put into golf without seeing any improvement or even getting worse. I play hockey (ice) as well, and am a pretty dominant player in my beer league. I never practice but I notice that I always seem to improve in some element every game I play.
As for golf, I was practicing every single day for awhile but my scores remained pretty consistent or got worse.
First off, I'd like to recommend that you drink a beer or two before you begin your round.
Nothing like a little "swing juice" to loosen you up physically and mentally. I also carry one of those Jack Daniels "airplane bottles" in my golf bag in case of an emergency.
When I get the shanks, they are brutal mostly because you think of nothing else every time you address the ball.
To "cure" them, I close my stance a bit and move the ball slightly in that stance.
Anyway, good luck...I hope that helps.
Getting the shanks is a lot like getting the common cold - for some unknown reason you get them, nobody knows how to cure them, it makes you feel miserable, but pretty soon, if you drink a lot of liquids, they go away on their own.
Don't walk away. Take it from someone who has walked away because of the shanks. I can tell you I battled them and have hit more than my share. I was a 2 handicap when I started getting them. It can happen to anyone, but despite your reasoning there are cures.
My guess based on your comment "standing closer to the ball ....less hip sway" you are trying to get more compact and cover the ball. You can hit great shots like that, but I too pursued something similar for too long and at great expense.
You are probably not getting off your left side and swinging too much around your body. The force from your body will want to send your arms away from your body. This sends the club outside your plane. I could give you some bandaids to help that but for the cure I would tell you to go out again and start loading up on your right side. Swing with good smooth tempo and get your confidence back. If you played to a 4 and are competing in tournaments you should be playing this game.
© Golf Grouch 2006