So what do you call them?

The J.Arthur Rank, the Lucy Locket, the socket or the shank.

Whatever it is, forget the top, the hook, the slice or the total miss because the shank is the most destructive shot in the golfers armoury.

Why is this?

Well the answer is simple not only does the shot ruin any chance that you have of having a good golf score on the day but it immediately impacts on your confidence.

Everyone that has had a shank will know the feelings that you have as a golfer when you try and play the next shot with an iron club.

This affliction is not limited to the amateur because you may recall that at a British Open Championship at Troon Darren Clarke hit a shank with a 2- iron on the second hole which ended up on the beach and he was leading the tournament at the time.

Similarly in the Volvo Masters at Valderrama in 1987 Sandy Lyle shanked his 3rd shot to the notorious 17th hole while also leading the event.

He did however go on to win the event after a play-off with Colin Montgomerie.

So what causes a shank?

Let us remove one misconception before we start.

It is stated that a shank is almost a perfect golf shot.

What a load of rubbish, there are technical reasons within your swing that causes you to shank the ball.

Let me get the technical bit out of the way first.

A shank is usually caused because the golfer is standing too far away from the ball and this has the impact of throwing you forward on to your toes during your downswing, especially if you are also throwing your shoulders at the ball and coming over the top.

The first thing to do is to stand a little closer to the ball and a simple method is to ensure that your shoulders are over your knees, which in turn are over your shoe laces.

Additionally there is a simple practise method, which involves playing a few shots with something under your left toe, a ball or a club shaft will do.

This will help you to turn through on your left heel because you can’t fall forward if you put your weight into your heel.

To overcome the mental problems cause by the shank you should start by having trust in the technique to overcome the shot and play with a positive intent and commit to all iron shots.

It is vital that you start to visualise shots flying onto the green and landing softly.

You must stay in the present and forget the bad shots that have happened and you will find that this bad shot disappears as quickly as it arrived.