X is for avoiding an X on your scorecard. What’s the shot that Thailand golfers most often hit before writing and X on their scorecard? The shank! So terrifying, some golfers in Thailand don’t even like to mention the word shank. The shank is the most frustrating shot when golfing in Thailand and no golfer is immune.
In fact,last month I played at Alpine Golf Club with two golfers here for the first time on a Thailand golf vacation, and both claimed to be single digit handicappers. Each one suffered once during their round, forcing them to pick up and record and X. One got so frustrated after hitting two tee shots into the water on the par 3, 3rd hole that he just walked to the green without ever making a legal tee shot. The other, while having a good if not great round, sliced one off to the right on his approach shot to the 18th green and got so angry with himself that he wasted his next two shots and finally picked up when he missed his short final putt.
To be more specific about a shank, it is when the ball catches some part of the hosel, and veers right, usually at 45 degrees to the target. This almost always leads to the ball finding one of the many water hazards or out of bounds so abundant on Thailand golf courses.
Surprisingly, most shanks I see hit on Thailand golf courses come when golfers were playing an easy shot. This causes the golfer to get so frustrated that many times they shank their next shot as well, before finally giving up and taking an X.
A shank happens when the golfer is trying to play a safe shot because and tries to push the golf ball rather than hit it. When you try to push the ball, only the grip portion of the club will be forward and the club head lags behind. The club face twists open allowing the hosel area to contact the ball first with the hands in front of the ball at impact.
If you happen to shank on or two when playing golf in Thailand, don’t let it get to you or force an X on your card. Instead take a drop and use this simple fix to avoid a second mistake. Imagine a big pane of glass covering an area from the back of the ball up to your hands. In a shank the grip portion of the club will make the initial contact with the glass breaking the top of the pane first.
Now to correct it, you want the club head to break the bottom of the glass fist. Relax your grip, and release your tension, especially if golfing in Thailand for the first time. This is necessary because your wrists must be able to act like hinges and allow the club head to pass in front of them. Then mentally picture the club head hitting the bottom of the glass before the hands and swing away.
Talking this idea to an extreme and if you really want to avoid a shank, think about a large stack of money just outside the ball. If you reach forward at all, you will hit the money and may never see it again! This really forces you to hit the ball properly and you will never have to take an X due to a shank again!