I WAS HITTING some 8 irons on the practice fairway at Mount Broughton Golf Club the other day when out of the blue, I caught one right out of the hosel. It wasn’t an ugly shank that went along the ground for the first 20 feet then spiralled off, just in front of point. It was one of the most majestic looking shanks I’ve ever seen. It took off like a perfectly hit short iron with just a hint of fade… roughly 45 degrees to the right of where I was aiming.
My coach (who I won’t name for fear of legal reprisals), and I have been working on my rotation through the ball which delays my hand action… actually, I won’t go into the details because I’m even boring myself with that stuff.
The short story is that I’m trying to commit to a full follow through, no matter what part of the face the ball comes from. The result is some of the loveliest swings ever seen on Mount Broughton’s driving range along with some of the worst shots the NSW Southern Highlands has experienced.
As a rule, I don’t hit a lot of “Hilary Swanks”, “Tara Banks”, “Blankety Blanks”….. I usually save my “Diary of Anne Frank’s” for a special occasion. Like when I was drawn with the major sponsor during a big Pro-Am at Muirfield in Sydney. On the par-5 13th I was 30 metres short of the putting surface in two, with plenty of green, slightly uphill and a lie you could eat your lunch off. Give him a couple of donuts and a 7 iron and Homer Simpson would have got this within 2 feet. My sponsor mate, who I’d given a chipping lesson too just a few holes earlier, was standing just to the right of me, taking great interest in his mentor’s technique.
You know when you hit a shank, the first thing you notice is the horrible noise it makes? It’s not the usual soft juicy sound of a lovely Titleist Pro V 1 coming right out of the middle of an expensive forged carbon steel iron. It’s more like when you push the old Victa 2 stroke over an exposed piece of blue metal. The bigger issues for me on this occasion were the next two noises that quickly followed.
One was a dull sickening thud, then the sound a crow makes which closely resembles a rather nasty yet descriptive term used commonly in the English language. My untimely Shank had hit my sponsor square on the left knee. He bravely attempted to cover his obvious pain with something along the lines of, “No worries mate, I’ll be fine”. Although a minute later, when my back was turned, I did hear a murmur of “This bloke’s worse than me!”
I’ve had another more public “Sherman Tank” which, I estimate, was witnessed by between one and two thousand people. My nervous pre-round practice sessions were usually a personal battle of trying to successfully warm up without successfully throwing up. On this particular occasion, the only place left on the range at the Aussie Masters, was two blokes up from Greg Norman which meant exposing myself to 1000 or so Shark fans. Greg was firing his darts at the yardage markers so I figured I’d aim down the left edge of the range away from harm’s way. Tragically, my first wedge shot was a clean “Taxi Rank” which flew 38 degrees to the right smack into the metal 75 metre marker!
Now I have 2000 thousand fans thinking I’m a bloody threat to the shark and wondering if this talented unknown can go two from two. I had no choice but to quickly realign myself towards the 75 metre post and try like hell to catch the next one out of the toe. Luckily it landed within 10 metres of the marker, so I faked a shoulder injury, put my wedge against my bag and waited until everyone focused their attention back on the defending Champion.
I know I’m not the only one with a socket story so I would love to hear from my fellow heel hitters. In fact why don’t we start up our own exclusive club and call it….. “Absolute Shankers”. C’Mon readers… you’ll feel better if you talk about it!
[Any “Absolute Shankers Club” responses can be made below in the comments section]