Being a lefty…

Posted in golf on May 3, 2012

In recent weeks Barack Obama’s left handedness, Bubba and a large scientific study on the use of the left hand have thrown the issue back in to the spotlight (featured in Gizmodo and The Week) so we asked our resident left handed golfer, Alex, to give us his thoughts…

A left-handed golfer is a surprisingly rare beast. Surprising because while over 10% of the world’s population are lefties, out on the course there is nothing like this proportion. There are a number of obvious reasons for this; most equipment, tuition and golfing imagery is dominated by right-handed players. Some left handed writers also feel more comfortable playing right handed because they feel more comfortable with the ball leaving them from the left hand side of their body (stay with me!).

The main one though according to a recent survey is that in sports where there is no discernible advantage for people to be different (i.e. being left handed) there is always a disproportionately low amount of lefties. Whereas, in sports where being the ‘opposite’ way round could be an advantage, left handers are far more prevalent (see boxing, fencing and cricket among others).  The study also suggested that the reason for there being only 10% percent of the total population that are left handed because humans are cooperative species and it’s beneficial for sharing tools etc – but we will spare you the full anthropological lesson!

The lesser-spotted left handed club

I’m right handed and right footed in everything but golf and cricket and while being left handed at cricket was never a problem (it was actually a benefit), being a lefty at golf was always troublesome. During my first week at secondary school I had my first proper tuition. It being my first week I didn’t want to rock the boat by asking for the ‘rare’ left handed clubs so I just tried to grin and bear it with right handed clubs. I thought that maybe I could convert myself and it would be a lot easier for everyone! It didn’t go well… after a term of  some woeful right handed golf  I eventually spoke up and managed to get some old left handed clubs out of the back room. The sense of relief was palpable! I was reminded why I had got into golf in the first place.

As I have continued my golf development being a lefty has continued to be fraught with annoyances. I could never borrow someone’s clubs or easily hire a set. Once I got a car it forced me to carry my clubs with me wherever I went so I wouldn’t miss out on a spontaneous round. Walking into most pro shops should be a real treat but there is still a noticeable lack of provision for us lefties. Maybe it’s a conspiracy to keep us left handers down?! It is perhaps telling that only 4 left handed players have won a major in the history of the game. To end on more a positive note 3 of the 4 lefties  to be major champions have been active in the last decade, so maybe the tide is turning..? Mssrs. Weir, Mickelson and Watson you are my heroes!

Bubba's unorthodoxy adds to the left handed golfer's mystique

Any other left handers out there had similar problems? We’d love to hear your experiences…