In spite of the fact that there are many lefties playing golf, a very large percentage of them end up playing right-handed. So far, the only logical explanation I could find for this bizarre aspect is this: considering that the vast majority of players are right-handed, the manufacturers are typically focused on providing golf equipment for this category of golfers. Think about former PGA professionals Greg Norman or Curtis Strange who became legends because they learned how to master the game using right-handed clubs!
However, not every lefty can adapt to playing with the right hand and, in my opinion, they actually shouldn’t even try. One of the arguments to why left-handers should golf with the hand they feel more comfortable using is Phil Mickelson; even though Mickelson is right-handed, he prefers playing golf with his left hand. I must confess that this oddity startled my curiosity and lead me to discover several interesting things, as you are about to find out.
The “Leftie Advantage”
As we all know, the brain includes two hemispheres and each half is assigned with unique functions. According to French neuroscientist Guy Azemar who studied left-handiness for decades, for lefties the functions and roles of the hemispheres are more equally distributed. Considering that this fact implies that the brain is more symmetrical, Azemar suggested that left-handers benefit from the perfect hand-eye coordination, an element that plays a crucial role in any sports that require good space management and fast reactions.
Applying this hypothesis to golf, it means that right-handed players will normally have a slower reaction time compared to their left-handed counterparts. At first, the reaction time of lefties may not seem very important: the disparity is of approximately 20 or 30 milliseconds, meaning the time that the visual information takes in order to get transferred to the other hemisphere for right handed players. However, it makes all the difference in the world when it comes to world class golf.
Left-handers make the best golfers, but…
While there is doubt that lefties are faster and visualize the trajectory of the ball more precisely, they are generally faced with a distinct drawback: the limited assortments of golf equipment available for them. As I mentioned before, the manufacturers are mostly focused on standard golf gear and accessories and thus, a left-hander golfer shopping at a small retailer or non-specific sports outlet will have a hard time finding the right clubs. However, if you are tired of crippling your own game by playing with ill-fitted clubs, then it is time to check out the online retailers.
Is there any difference between right-hander and left-hander clubs?
The short answer is yes, there is, and the main distinction comes from the way a leftie holds his club: left-handed golf players have a weak grip, a fact that inevitably affects their swing, which more often than not, becomes more of a slice. The secret to a proper grip implies holding the club all across your palm (from the base of the index to the pinkie). Moving the grip into the palm will inevitably lead to a slice, whereas moving it into the fingers will most likely result in a hook.
Another noteworthy distinction between left and right handed clubs comprise of the putter shafts, which are in general manufactured for lefties or right-handers. However, the good news is that neither the grips nor the shafts are specifically created for right-handers or left-handers. In other words, you are free to attach any club head you prefer. In regards to the club heads, I want to bring the following clarifications: if the club head was placed on a flat surface while it is facing directly towards the players, then it will be angled to either left or right according to the hand the golfer feels more comfortable using.
I know that most golf instructors are right-handed and overall learning experience can be rather frustrating. Perhaps, this is the main motivation to why lefties prefer understanding how to play with the right hand. However, it is not as difficult or scary as it sounds, considering that the right-handed instructions are nothing more than a mirror set of guidelines for left-handers.
Hello, my name is Chad and I enjoy blogging about various golf tips and tricks I’ve learned while playing at PGA Village.