Like with several other sports, being a left-handed golf player is trickier since most sports equipment, coaching, and even golf courses cater to righties. Though this is a disadvantage to such players, golfers like Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson have adopted several innovative techniques over the years that help reduce this disadvantage. Playing golf as a lefty isn’t just a matter of mirroring a right-handed player. Often tips and tricks that work for them may not work for you, which is why you need left handed golf tips that are specifically meant to counter any disadvantages and take advantage of your rare ability. That is precisely what this article is about!
Table of Contents
- 1 Do I Need Right or Left Handed Golf Clubs?
- 2 Should Left Handers Play Golf Right Handed?
- 3 Golf Tips for Lefties
- 3.1 Get Lefty Clubs
- 3.2 Get Lefty Gloves
- 3.3 Watch Videos of Left-handed Golf Players
- 3.4 Learn How to Grip a Golf Club Left Handed
- 3.5 Get Your Left Handed Golf Stance Right
- 3.6 Rotate Your Whole Body to the Right
- 3.7 Tee Upwards With A Woods and Hit Downwards With an Iron
- 3.8 Finish Your Swing with the Left Hand and on the Balls of Your Feet
- 3.9 Study the Course Layout
- 3.10 Perfect Your Draw Shot
- 3.11 Get Lessons From a Lefty or a Professional Golfer With Experience Teaching Lefties
- 4 Left Handed Putting Tips
- 5 Left Handed Chipping Tips
- 6 Right Handed Golfer Putting Left Handed – Why it Could Work
- 7 FAQs
Do I Need Right or Left Handed Golf Clubs?
Unlike a tennis racket that is the same for lefties and righties, the main difference between a right and left-handed club is the clubhead. Unless you’re looking at a putter which has a bent shaft and is made specifically for left-handed or right-handed play, all other shafts are straight, so they can be attached to either a left handed clubhead or a right handed one.
It is required by the rules of golf that players strike the ball fairly with the clubhead. The club will need to stand either on the right side or left side of the ball relative to the target, which means the club is shaped for either a right-hander or left-hander. This means you have to figure out which way to play before you buy any clubs.
Should Left Handers Play Golf Right Handed?
There’s no right or wrong way to play golf. Left handers need not necessarily play with their dominant hand low on the club and the right shoulder facing the hole. Lefties can play righthanded and vice versa. The choice essentially boils down to what techniques you feel most comfortable with. Fun fact alert: There are a few sports where left handers have to play right-handed.
If you’re unsure take any club or stick and grip it like you would before taking a shot. Don’t think about how to grip but just do whatever comes naturally. Once you do, see where you’ve placed each hand. If you have your left hand below your right, then that’s a left-handed grip and you may play best this way.
Your dominant hand will finish the swing and generate most of the power in a shot. If you feel like you can hit with more power when your left shoulder faces the hole or fairway, then you may do better playing right-handed and vice versa.
Advantages of Left-handed Golfers Playing Right-handed
One of the biggest advantages of playing right-handed is that the clubs and gloves are easy to find, especially if you are looking for second-hand equipment. The same cannot be said for left-handed equipment, and thus it may take much longer for a lefty to collect the gear they need for their left handed golf set.
Similarly, coaches who teach right-handed players are more available than left-handed ones. It also helps that most instruction manuals tend to revolve around right-handed players more. Playing right-handed also means you don’t have to mirror the moves and techniques of other righties. Another thing to keep in mind is if you played other sports such as baseball or cricket right-handed, it would be easier to adjust to playing golf right-handed as well.
Problems with Left-handed Playing Golf Right Handed
Lefties who play right-handed may struggle to release their right arm properly since their dominant hand is their lead hand. They may either release too early or too late since this position is unusual compared to their natural movement. This switch of hands also makes it harder for players to get a powerful swing. Shifting your body weight to the front instead of staying on the back foot upon release can also pose a slight difficulty, and adjusting would take time and practice. These problems are not faced by every leftie, but you may want to consider switching if the difficulties persist even after several practices.
Oh, I bet you never thought about this lefty problem at the driving range:
Golf Tips for Lefties
Here are a few golf tips for left handers to improve or master the game. You can use them to your advantage the next time you get out onto the course.
Get Lefty Clubs
It may seem fairly obvious, but the right equipment is always essential. The main difference between a left and right-handed golf club lies with the club heads, so make sure you get the right one. If you don’t wish to buy a new set of left-handed clubs, you can always buy right-handed ones as they are easier to find and there are more options. In this case, you would have to play right-handed. On the other hand, if you wish to play left-handed, getting the best left-handed club for you is a great place to start. Female golfers should look for left-handed golf clubs for women because they will be a little lighter and shorter and therefore easier for women to swing.
Get Lefty Gloves
Apart from clubs, a good glove is an essential part of most player’s golf equipment. Golfers often wear gloves on their non-dominant hands. This means that lefties will wear a glove on their right hand. This is just a common practice and is in no way absolute, so if you feel more comfortable wearing a glove on your left hand or both hands or none at all, it is entirely up to you.
The reason that most golfers wear a glove on their non-dominant hand is because it is the top hand on the club. Since this is the leading hand, a glove can help you maintain a better grip.
While gloves for lefties may be harder to find than those used by right-handed golfers, buying a good glove for the right hand is recommended, especially for newbies.
Watch Videos of Left-handed Golf Players
Mirroring a right-handed player is a common way of learning how to play left-handed, albeit not the most effective one. A simpler way to learn would be to watch left-handed golfers and emulate their techniques. Once you get comfortable with that, you can focus on making them your own. There are several informational videos on how to start playing golf left-handed and clips of left-handed golfers playing the sport available at just the tap of a button that is a great, inexpensive option to start learning the sport.
Learn How to Grip a Golf Club Left Handed
First, place your right hand on the grip, closer to the top, and curl your fingers around the club. Then place your left hand below your right hand and curl your fingers. Based on how your hands are placed on the club, you may have a strong, weak, or neutral grip.
A common problem that left handed golf beginners have is a weak grip, which can result in you slicing the ball. To prevent this, make sure that the club crosses the left palm from the base of the index finger to the pinkie finger. A hurried swing can result in a hook if the grip is moved into the fingers. A slower swing will be a result of moving the grip more into the palm.
A firm grip ensures you have better control over your club and, as an extension, better control over your swing. Having a solid grip is not the same as exerting too much pressure to hold your club. A strong grip, when done correctly, can help you achieve a power release and avoid weak releases. A neutral grip, on the other hand, helps you to shoot relatively straight shots.
Watch the video below for the proper golf grip for left handed players.
Get Your Left Handed Golf Stance Right
When it comes to stance, you can mirror a right-handed golf player. You will be positioned on the right side of the ball. Your legs should be shoulder length apart and slightly bent as this helps you get a more powerful shot due to your body weight. Once again, it is vital to have a firm grip to help you with your shot.
Rotate Your Whole Body to the Right
During a backswing, it is imperative that you take a full shoulder turn. A turn with proper aim helps you make a powerful hit. As you turn, make sure to turn your whole upper body to the point where your right shoulder comes just below your chin. In this position, the lower body faces the ball, while the upper body rotates almost 90 degrees. This sets in motion the rotation of a solid shot as you rotate your hips, shoulders and hands to the right.
Tee Upwards With A Woods and Hit Downwards With an Iron
Next, we come to left handed golf tips for driving. In order to hit a tee shot, you would want to aim your rotation in such a manner that as your club reaches the ball, it has already begun its upward part of the rotation. This will help you achieve the upward trajectory and distance you want with your woods on a tee shot.
After your tee shots, your aim shifts downwards. This is because once you’ve reached the fairway, your priority shifts from distance to accuracy, which is why you switch to your left handed iron club. With an iron, you must aim your rotation in such a matter that your club is still moving downwards at the point it hits the ball.
Finish Your Swing with the Left Hand and on the Balls of Your Feet
Golf is a two-hand sport, so when you play as a lefty, you start the hit with your non-dominant hand and finish with your dominant hand. The play doesn’t end when you hit the ball, instead, it ends with your full swing. A good follow-through is crucial as it allows you to have a strong finish, giving your shot more power. Your club must be behind you at this finishing pose, your elbows shouldn’t be very high, your body weight must be balanced on your front foot, and your back heel should be in the air. The reason why golfers hold their finishing pose is that they may judge the overall shot based on that final pose.
Watch this video of left handed golf swing tips from Jeremy Dale
Study the Course Layout
Most courses are set keeping in mind right-handed golfers. This makes teeing off slightly harder for left-handed players because of the curves. So as a lefty golf player, you must study the course layout and practice shots that will help you navigate amongst those bends. Developing the right strategy for the course is imperative, especially since you can’t emulate the techniques used by right-handed players. However, as you come closer to the hole, the field is fairly leveled for both left and right-handed players.
Perfect Your Draw Shot
Dogleg holes are often placed in golf courses to pose a challenge to the golfers. These holes can either bend left or right, but there are significantly more dogleg right holes. In this case, your best strategy would be to practice your draw shots to tackle dogleg right holes.
A draw shot by a lefty would mean that the flight path of the shot curves to the right. To hit a strong draw shot, you may change your swing path so that it swings outwards, i.e, away from you, or you may have a straight swing path but change the angle of your club so that the club face is closed, or you may opt for a combination of the two. Practice is key to perfect your draw shots, so make sure you hit the course and develop a strategy that works for you.
Get Lessons From a Lefty or a Professional Golfer With Experience Teaching Lefties
Nothing beats learning from lefty coaches as they can share tips and tricks that will help better your game. Without a lefty coach, you would have to constantly focus on how to mirror right-handed players, which may be complicated, as you are constantly in your head trying to understand what they did, mirror it in your mind and then do it yourself.
Lefty coaches come few and far between, which is why often lefties switch to playing right-handed or suffice with mirroring. So, if you are able to find a lefty coach and have the resources to learn from them, go ahead.
Professional golfers who are experienced with teaching lefties can also be a good option for coaches. Jeremy Dale, for example, is a right-handed trick shot player, however, when he started teaching a left-handed golfer, he decided to play left-handed as well. Thus, he is now able to teach both right and left-handed players.
Left Handed Putting Tips
A player putts when entering the green and is aiming for a gentle yet accurate shot. Theoretically, you just have to hit the ball into the hole lightly. While it may sound pretty straightforward, realistically, a golf course has uphills and downhills, curves, and ridges, all of which need to be considered while aiming the ball. Observing the players who play before you may be advantageous as you may take that into account once your shot comes.
The instructions focus on power until this point, but once you start putting, the focus is on proper control and accuracy. Don’t hold your club too tightly as you putt. Remember that since you are closer to the hole, you don’t need that much force, and so, a grip that is too tight will make you lose a bit of control, and the ball won’t roll in the intended path.
The position of your hands as you putt depends on your tendencies while putting. Based on if you tend to push or pull more, you may adjust how you hold the club so that you are able to get a straight shot. While putting, make sure to aim in a way that brings the ball close to the hole. You don’t necessarily have to aim for the hole itself as that may not always be the practical option. This strategy makes it easier to putt with a lower number of shots.
You can find a good selection of left handed putters, both mallet and blade, so you should brush up on your knowledge of both types as well as the important features that influence your game.
Left Handed Chipping Tips
Chip shots are shots hit closer to the green. The goal of chip shots is to cover quite the distance and bring you closer to the hole. The club you use to chip is crucial since a steeper angled one such as a sand wedge will help you cover a shorter distance, and a flatter angled one such as the mid irons will help you cover a longer distance. The aim should be to land on a flatter area rather than a sloped or rougher one. Once again, the goal is not a powerful shot, so the correct posture for chipping is legs somewhat together, upper body, as well as your knees, slightly bent, and body squared.
Since we aren’t focusing on power, a full rotation is not required and so for a good chip shot, start the partial rotation from the point at which your club is slightly higher than your knee and then swing the club so at the end of your shot your club is at knee level. When using mid-irons, your swing will be longer, and inversely, when you use your short irons your swing will be shorter as you need less force to cover the shorter distance. As you start practicing chipping, you will also realize the importance of the wrist motion in your swing as well. Your wrists should be kept relatively stiff, and then you should break your wrists as you hit the ball.
Choose your clubs from our selection of best left handed wedges in golf.
Right Handed Golfer Putting Left Handed – Why it Could Work
Improving your putting skills can prove to be quite helpful while trying to lower your scores, and so as a right-handed player, your regular putting strategy may not always be the best one for you. If you struggle while trying to putt, you should consider playing such shots left-handed. To achieve proper control and accuracy, your aim is very important. While being a righty that plays left-handed, you may find that your dominant eye (usually the right eye for righties) is the one with a better view of the target.
If you’re switching from right to left-handed putting, you also switch the hands that are your lead hand and trail hand. Your usual lead hand, i.e, your left hand becomes your trail hand, and your right becomes your lead hand. Having your dominant hand as your lead hand may be more comfortable and it gives you more control over the force you exert while putting. This also allows your left hand to amplify your stroke.
The best example is pro golfer Cliff Kresge who switched to putting left-handed because playing those shots right-handed seemed to just increase his score. In fact, to putt left-handed, you don’t have to completely switch up your grip as you can always putt cross-handed. So, the next time you struggle with putting, don’t be afraid to switch to your left and see if it is a better fit for you.
Is golf harder for lefties?
Not necessarily. The part of golf that is usually harder for lefties is finding the right equipment since most companies cater to right-handed players. Being part of the minority in the sport means that it is generally harder to find the right coach. This may affect a lefty golfer’s mental game, but on the course, with the right coaching and practice,
a left hander may level the playing field by getting creative with their technique.