August 13th is International Lefthanders Day! A day according to their website is the chance to tell your friend and family how proud you are of being a lefty!
There are some sports where being a lefty has its advantages. Take tennis for example where Rafael Nadal plays left-handed when actually he is right-handed. One of the main advantages is playing lefty allows him to hit deep cross-court to the right-hander’s less-practised backhand. Now Rafa like many other sports stars enjoys playing golf and when he began at the age of 17 he naturally started playing golf with his right hand. So for someone who is ambidextrous did Rafa select to play right handed as he feels its easier for a golfer to play right handed?
It is estimated that between 10 and 12% of the world’s population are lefties with roughly 1 out of every 30 professional golfers being left-handed. When next playing with a lefty or if you are one yourself here are some of the challenges they face:
Its all about the clubs!
With tennis whether your left-handed or right-handed you have the options of the same tennis racket, but for lefties in golf you need left-handed clubs. Obvious I know but for lefties it can be somewhat challenging to try out clubs and even harder finding used clubs. For many starting golf we benefited from hand-me-downs, enabling us to get into the swing to see if this is the sport for us. For a lefty they often need to invest heavily in their clubs before they have even hit the driving range. Then its not just clubs, buying gloves can also prove challenging, especially if you have a preferred brand.
So where is the instruction manual?
With YouTube, Instagram, and many other social media platforms there is an abundance of information on improving your technique but imagine going back even just 20 years ago trying to inverse all the instructions primarily aimed at right-handed players. You are also prone to misinformation. Playing partners who always like to give a few hints and tips can’t flip the information they are giving to see it through the lens of lefties.
Its part of the course
While equipment and training aids can be a setback, then you must consider one very important factor. Golf courses will be primarily designed for right-handed players. When you are a beginner to the game its an extra challenge to navigate through. It’s not uncommon for a lefty to have to navigate more trees on the tee box as most courses are set up opposite.
Phil Mickelson makes it look so easy!
Many lefty golfers have shown that being a lefty doesn’t stop them from competing with the best and winning majors. The most successful lefty golfer of all time would have to be Phil Mickelson who has 45 PGA Tour Wins under his belt. Including the 2004, 2006 and 2010 Masters, the 2006 PGA Championship, and the 2013 British Open.