Definition: Shhhhhhh! Don't say that word! The "shank" is such a dreaded shot that many golfers are superstitious about even hearing the word while on the golf course.
A shank is a mis-hit that is so bad the golfer makes contact with the ball with a part of the club other than the clubface.
In a shank, it is the hosel of the club that first contacts the ball. Since the hosel is rounded, the ball might shoot off in just about any direction with various spins. But most commonly, a shank results in a ball that shoots out to the right (for a right-hander) at a severe angle.
Someone who shanks a lot might be said to "have the shanks" or "a case of the shanks" or to be "shanking it."
See the Shanks Tip Sheet, for a quick checklist of possible causes of this type of shot.
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Also Known As: Shanking it; a case of the shanks; hosel shot; hosel rocket
Examples: "I hit a shank off the fourth tee - can't believe it, I haven't shanked it in years."
"Look out everyone, Sarah has a case of the shanks so don't stand off to the right."