The Hosel Rocket: One of Golf's Most-Dreaded Shots

It's a Fun Term But a Terrible Shot

A 'hosel rocket' is a wayward shot caused by the ball flying off a club's rounded hosel.
Courtesy of Cleveland Golf

"Hosel rocket" is one of the more fun slang terms in golf. Alas, it is one of the least fun golf shots. That's because a hosel rocket is a shank.

So that's what "hosel rocket" is: a slang term for a shank. Which brings up the next question: What's a shank?

Hosel Rocket = Shank

A shank is one of the worst mishits in golf. When a shank occurs, the golf ball flies off (most commonly) way to the right for a right-handed golfer. Sometimes even at extremely sharp angles to the right — 70-degrees or more.

Why? The hosel (sometimes seen misspelled the way it sounds: "hozzle") is a part of the golf clubhead into which the shaft is inserted, forming the completed golf club. The hosel, therefore, is round (to accommodate the round shaft). When a golfer hits a "hosel rocket," the impact of golf club and golf ball happens in the wrong place. Instead of making contact on the center of the clubface — or anywhere else on the striking face of the club (such toward the heel or toe, as is common for recreational golfers) — the contact occurs at the hosel.

And since the hosel is round, when it contacts the golf ball it can send the golf ball sends the ball careening off wildly. Typically that means severely to the right for a right-handed golfer, severely to the left for a left-handed golf. But, really, the ball might go anywhere when a shot is shanked.

Basically, when you hit a hosel rocket, you've come close to missing the golf ball.

The causes and possible cures of shanks are covered in our Mishits Tip Sheets and also in our more extensive definition of shank. But the first place to start when diagnosing what might be causing a shank is to make sure you aren't standing too close to the ball in your setup.

You can also find many instructional videos on YouTube that deal with cures for the shanks. Something else you can find if you search YouTube: videos of some very famous golfers hitting really terrible hosel rockets. If you've been hitting them yourself, watching might make you feel better. (But beware: Many golfers think of hosel rockets as being contagious and prefer to never see one.)