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

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 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 even slightly toward the heel or toe, as is common for recreational golfers - the contact occurs at the hosel.

And the rounded hosel striking the golf ball sends the ball careening off wildly (for a right-handed golfer) to the right, most commonly. (The ball might go anywhere when the shot is shanked, really. But sharply right for a righty golfer is most common; for a left-hander, it's sharply left).

Basically, when you hit a hosel rocket, you've almost missed the golf ball.

The causes and possible cures of shanks, a k a hosel rockets, are covered in our Mishits Tip Sheets and also in our more extensive definition of shank.