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How To Cure The Shanks

The fix for golf’s worst shot

Source: GolfDigest
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We know, we know. You don’t even want to talk about the shanks for fear bringing the subject up will cause you to catch them. But like it or not, you might find yourself in a situation where you’re going to want to know a solution. Though awful, the plague of the shanks is curable.

First thing you have to do is take a break from the course. You need some alone time to sort this out on the range. Start by checking in on a few basics. Make sure you’re standing tall with your chest up during the swing, don’t hold the club too tightly, and make sure your weight isn’t sneaking up towards your toes. David Leadbetter told us that not tending to all of these little things could be the root of your struggles.

He also gave us a drill that will cure your shanking woes.

Set up like you’re going to hit it, and then put a tee in the ground just outside the toe of the club. While you’re swinging, think about keeping the grip end of the club near your body. “Miss the tee at impact, and you’ll hit the ball in the center of the face,” says Leadbetter.

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On Jan. 1, more than 30 changes to the Rules of Golf — some small, others significant — will take effect. To get you ready, this holiday season GOLF.com is rolling out a series, “The 12 Days of Rules Changes,” to ensure you always play by the rules, starting with your opening round of the year.

The Topic:

What you can (and can’t) do in the bunker

The Old Rule:

Most golfers know to be careful once entering a bunker. No grounding the club. No touching the sand. No removing leaves or any kind of debris. Is there a rock resting against your ball? Tough break. Play it as it lies, and hope you don’t scratch your new $200 wedge in the process. Otherwise it’s penalties, penalties penalties.

The New Rule:

Under Rules 12.2a and 12.2b, the player will be allowed to touch or move loose impediments in a bunker and will be generally allowed to touch the sand with a hand or club. You still can’t intentionally touch the sand to “test” it. And you can’t clip the sand during a practice swing. But the rules haven’t loosened up considerably to allow you to play a sand shot without any outside materials affecting the shot.

Why It Was Changed:

The USGA says the point of playing out of a bunker is to play out of sand – not battle stray rocks, leaves or other debris.

Will It Be Controversial?

Not really. This is a rule that was designed to wipe out a few controversial scenarios, and it says here the new revision has succeeded. Now, there are still no practice swings allowed in a bunker for both pace-of-play reasons and to prevent players from splashing extra sand out of a trap. Accidentally grounding a club in a bunker still has some potential to stir up problems, but the simple act of moving debris around a ball should be welcomed by golfers of all abilities.

How It Can Help You:

Now you don’t have to scuff a new club again a stone while blasting from a bunker. Also, a stray leaf no longer has the potential to screw up your shot and derail your round. Sounds good to us.

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