How I Stopped Shanking Pitch Shots

For the longest time I would shank pitch shots. Not constantly, but occasionally, and I never knew when one would pop out.

I tried everything I could think of to fix it. Nothing worked. So I gave up and signed up for a lesson.

The pro said, “Let me see you hit a couple.” So I hit four or five 65-yard pitches as pretty as you please.

Then he said, “Hit them half that distance.”

I did, and sure enough, on the third try, the ball went shooting off low and to the right.

I turned to him said, “There it is!”

He said, “That wasn’t a shank.”

I said, “Then what was it?”

He said, “Your clubface was wide open.”

“You’re opening the clubface when you take the club back, and sometimes you don’t get it closed, so the clubface is still wide open when you make contact. The ball goes where the clubface points.”

So he taught me a radically a different pitching stroke that I’m not going to try to describe to you because this YouTube video with Lee Trevino shows you exactly the stroke the pro taught me.

If you shank pitches there’s a chance you are really doing the same thing I was doing and this is the cure.

Watch how Trevino doesn’t break his wrists when he takes the club back at 0:38. There is NO WRIST SET. The shaft and the left arm are in a straight line (3:27). That is the key.

This is a Steve Stricker video. Watch the whole video, it’s short, but pay attention at 1:10. No wrist set, as he says.

It is said that the long pitching stroke is a miniature swing. Not true. Not true at all. They are entirely different strokes and need to learned separately.

These are the key feelings I have identified after working on this shot for several months. The left arm (right arm, for you lefties) stays straight when you take it back. That arm feels like it is reaching out to the side, not swinging up in a circle.

The club feels like the shaft is sticking straight out to the side and the wrists have not broken at all. If you look, you will find neither of those things are true, but it will feel like they are.

Then you turn and swing the arms/hands/club assembly through the ball without changing any of these feelings I have described. Without changing the feelings. But do not force them.

Not only do I not hit those shooters anymore, but I am deadly accurate. If I get lined up at the pin that’s exactly where the ball goes.

You can do that to.


Note: Some of you are having trouble seeing the videos. They show up just fine on my iMac. Here are the links to the videos. If you can’t see them in the blog, let me know, tell me how you are viewing the blog, and I will try to fix it. Thank you very much.



3 thoughts on “How I Stopped Shanking Pitch Shots”

  1. Excellent post and videos of Trevino and Stricker, Bob. I don’t practice much, and when I do, tend to ignore chipping.

    Yes, I know I should prioritize it, and “next time” will try the helpful tips you’ve provided. Thanks!

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