10 lefty-golfer struggles that right-handers have no idea about
I’d like to think it’s a joke masked as an accusation, and not the other way around. But like all bad jokes (and most poorly lobbed accusations), it’s grown stale rather quickly.
These days, it’s received with all the sincerity and endearment of a particularly fraudulent toupée:
Oh, so you’re one of THOSE?
Yes. As a matter of fact, I am one of THOSE.
A lefty. A southpaw. A mollydooker. A goofy-footed goofy-golfer.
We make up 10 percent of the world and 90 percent of the first-world problems around you. Yes, my palms are ink-stained, my notebooks are uncomfortable, and my playing cards are vulnerable. (And seriously, don’t get me started on scissors.)
But as I’ve come to call the golf world my professional home, I’ve begun to wonder if the sport I adore is also among the hardest for lefties. In baseball, a left-handed pitcher is an incredibly important strategic commodity. In football, left-footed punters are thought to be advantageous for their ability to generate fumbles. In hockey, about 70 percent of NHL players are left-handed shots.
In golf however, the numbers are skewed in the wrong direction for the left-handers. The most recent estimates say lefties make up five-to-seven percent of the North American golf market, with a majority of those hailing from north of the border. For the few and proud still left (see what I did there?), here are 10 struggles with being one of THOSE golfers.
1. It’s impossible to try out clubs
Want to take a few swings with a right-handed club at a golf retail store? Go right ahead!
Want to hit a left-handed club? Well, there’s this year’s Wilson driver, and we’re pretty sure there are a few of last year’s TaylorMades sitting around in the back. And wasn’t there a Callaway out on the floor a few weeks ago? Oh! That’s right, that one got sold.
Oh, and by the way. It’s sort of a pain to set up the launch monitor for a lefty, so unless you’re planning on purchasing something today, could you please swing without?
2. It’s even harder to find used clubs
On eBay, there are more than 35,000 results for the search term “used driver.” But the second you specify that you’re looking for a used left-handed driver, that number drops to less than 2,000. And if you’re looking for a stiff-shafted club, you’re looking at more like 700 options.
That’s still plenty if you’re in desperate need of a used club, but not nearly enough if you’re going bargain hunting. My solution? A full-bag fitting at TrueSpec Golf and a new set of sticks the right way.
3. Speaking of clubs, you never had hand-me-downs
Nope. Not even once. Maybe you got lucky and had a dad or older brother who shared your left-handed affliction. But more likely is that you spent close to your entire bank account on your first set of clubs.
4. Instruction is (even more) confusing
It’s hard enough to teach yourself the inverse of everything you’re reading, and even more so when your instructor starts throwing around terms like “left” and “right.” If we could, as a golf community, alternate to the terms “lead” and “trail,” it’d make things immeasurably easier on the lefties.
5. It’s easy to whiff at the range
Say you’ve gone ahead and purchased a new driver, and you’re looking to take a few swings at the range. Well, you’d better hope that there’s a booth with a tee lined up on the left side, or else you’ll be stuck waiting or hitting wedges and irons.
In the old days, some ranges used to allow golfers to pick up and flip the mat to put the tee on the proper side — a minor (albeit frustrating) inconvenience. But now, ranges are opting to nail their mats to the ground, meaning your options are even fewer.
6. Golf gloves are a streamlined experience
When you walk into most pro shops, you’re greeted by dozens, if not hundreds of glove options. But if you’re looking for the all-important right-hand glove (for a left-handed golfer), you’ll be lucky to have three choices to choose from. Sure, that makes the decision a heck of a lot easier on your part. But if you’re someone who religiously plays with one type of glove, it’s better to order in advance.
7. Check your periphery
Golf etiquette teaches us to position ourselves away from the periphery of the player who is swinging, but what works for a right-handed player might not for a left-handed player. The onus falls on the player to ensure their surroundings are safe, which can cause all sorts of issues when playing with golfers who are used to maneuvering around right-handed players.
8. You’re prone to misinformation
As a lefty, you quickly learn that when a right-handed playing partner tells you your lie “isn’t too bad,” it’s worth a double-check to make sure they didn’t unintentionally mean “not too bad for a righty.”
It certainly isn’t their fault, but your playing partners might not (and often don’t) flip the information they give you to speak through the lens of a lefty.
9. Everyone compares your game to Phil Mickelson’s
Oh how I wish I had a golf game as strong as Phil’s. Now, if you could stop reminding me how much I don’t by encouraging to me to hit a circus shot through the trees, I’d greatly appreciate it.
10. Your game actually *is* kind of like Phil Mickelson’s
Maybe it’s the expression of your right-brain, or maybe you’ve simply spent your life watching Lefty highlights on an endless loop. Either way, you’ve got a bit of Phil’s swagger, or short game prowess, or creativity, or bomb-hitting ability.