Most golfers have felt the agony of wasting a great drive by shanking a wedge shot into the trees or the water. That one shank probably has even made a few of you so paranoid that you shanked the next four shots around the green.
The main reason golfers hit shanks with their wedges more than with other clubs is the steep, outside-in path it takes to use these clubs properly. Also, the clubface must be open in order to get a wedge shot to fly high and straight. The combination places the hosel of the club–where shanks occur–dangerously close to the ball.
To keep the shanks at bay, make sure that you let your arms hang naturally from your shoulders at address, with maybe a slight amount of reach toward the golf ball. Also, push your rear end back as though you're getting ready to sit down in a chair. This will establish some room between your arms and body. If your hips and rear end pull in toward the ball during the downswing, your arms and hands will naturally get closer to the ball as well, which can easily lead to shanks.
Also, try putting three or four tees about one-eighth-inch to a quarter-inch beyond the toe of your club. When you swing, make sure that you don't hit the tees. Avoiding the tees will keep you from extending so much that you hit the ball with the hosel.
Steve Atherton is the VP of Instruction at GolfTEC. Locate the GolfTEC center nearest you at www.golftec.com.