There is hardly anything uglier in golf than a shanked shot. That means you have to hit the ball off the hosel, or neck, of the club and it travels aimlessly and uncontrollably to the right if you are a right-handed golfer. It's such a deflating experience that you may lose all confidence in your swing, and become convinced that shanking will be with you forever. Despair not, as there are cures for this.
Check your set up. It is possible that you are standing too close to the ball, and the primary cause is incorrect posture. To cure this, allow your arms to hang toward the ground, then grip the club as you have been taught. Bend your torso at the waist, assume the position that you are about to sit down, and reach to the ground where your ball should be placed. Also, think about adjusting your feet and shoulders so they are parallel with your swing line. Finally, you could be placing too much of your weight on the toes of your feet, so move your weight more towards the rear side of your feet before you make your swing.
Make sure that you have little tension in your arms and hands because that is the number one cause of shanking. Excessive tightness makes it impossible to release the club properly, and the hosel leads right into the ball. Also, try to twist your hands in the hitting area rather than sliding your club through to the ball. A good drill is to force the bottom hand over the top hand while going through the hitting area.
Make corrections to your swing if you are either cutting across the ball or taking an inside-out swing at the ball, because both can result in a shank. If you are cutting across the ball, try this drill. Raise the golf club about 2 feet above the ball, and take your normal back-swing and note its plane. Then on your downswing, keep your plane below it all the way through to the finish. By doing this, you will be less likely to shank the ball.
Be sure that your weight has shifted to the leg closest to the hole before you begin the down-motion of your follow-through. If you don't, it is likely that you will come over the top and lead with the heel of your club into the ball. Also, try to keep from having the so-called “flying elbow,” a major cause of a shank. Keep your elbow closer to your side and you will be more likely to hit the middle of the club.
Take less time to think. Many problems with shanking are the result of indecision and fear. The longer you stand over the golf ball, the more likely you will shank. Until you cure your shanking problem, address the golf ball, check your target once, then hit the ball.