Are Lefties Better At Golf? The Pros And Cons

The discussion of whether left handed people are more superior has always been up for debate.

When it comes to sports such as cricket, soccer, boxing or tennis, left-handed athletes perform better because their opponents are not familiar to how they pitch the ball, or how they throw a punch in the ring.

Lefties only make up about 10% of the world’s population, so their presence in most sports are less felt. This means they would have an advantage over their opponent as most aren’t accustomed to their style of play.

In golf, only 5% of PGA Tour players are left handed. There are only a small number of lefties that have played at the highest level of golf.

So, many want to know “Are lefties better at golf?”

Are Lefties Better At Golf

The answer is no. While lefties may have the upper hand on more interactive sports like soccer, cricket and tennis, they are not better at golf because the sport is non-interactive. A left handed player offers no element of surprise in golf, unlike other sports like cricket where the opponent is not used to how they pitch the ball.

The strategy and approach to golfing is similar between a right handed player and a left handed player. However, there may be some scenarios on the course where a lefty has the advantage. For example, on some holes and certain shots, a left handed golfer may have the edge depending on the shot shape they play.

On the contrary, some left handed golfers believe that the sport is biased against them as they feel that the courses are tailored for only right handed golfers. As a result, a lot of lefties are choosing to play right handed to make the game easier for them, while coaches and pros encourage their students to switch to the right side.

That can be a radical change to make given that they’ve played their whole life left handed. So, if there is anybody who has the upper hand in golf, it will be the righties.

Why Are There So Few Left Handed Golf Players 

We know that just 10% of lefties make up the world’s population, so there will always be fewer left handed golf players in the sport.

Nevertheless, there is a bias towards right handed golfers when it comes to the golf courses, specifically public facilities. The majority of golf players slice their drives or hit it left to right. Because of this, many golf courses put a lot more out-of-bounds hazards on the left side to keep the game going. So what happens to lefties? Well this is where they end up hitting their shots when they slice their drives.

This is one reason why some lefties eventually switch to right hand, resulting in fewer left handed golfers.

Apart from the fact that the golf courses lean towards right handed golfers, lefties also have another challenge to face and that is the shortage of left handed equipment. 

If you are a mainstream golfer, then you may not have much of a problem getting your hands on the club of your choice. It can be very annoying though when a new innovation releases and it says “for right handed only”. Then you will have to wait for weeks, if not months, for the product to be available for you.

Manufacturers have acknowledged that some left handed equipment are scarce to come by as the bottom line approach taken is to supply on demand.

However, there have been considerable amounts of efforts lately by some manufacturers to make available a wide variety of clubs for enough lefties. Some believe that it was because of Phil Mickelson who emerged in the 1990’s that changed the rate at which manufacturers produce left handed equipment.

One company that has catered for the needs of lefties throughout the years is TaylorMade.  TaylorMade, unlike other manufacturing companies, has a whole set of golf clubs exclusively designed for left in its 713 PM irons.

Given the fact that there is a shortage of lefty equipment and that there are overwhelming golf courses solely designed for right handed golfer, lefties will have to either conform to these conditions or switch to playing to the right side.

Right Hand Vs Left Hand Golf Clubs: Is There A Difference?

The only difference between a right handed and left handed golf club lies in the symmetry of the club head. Everything else is the same from the shafts to the grips of the clubs. This means you can feel free to attach your left handed club head to the shaft of your likening.

There is also no difference in performance of the clubs as the distance and feel are the same throughout. Some of the best brands for buying left clubs are Titleist, Srixon, Cobra and PING.

The Win Rate Of Left Handed Golfers

One of the best ways to determine if lefties are better than righties is to calculate their win rate.  How many U.S open tournaments have they won? Did they win any majors or PGA tours?

Here is what you should know:
Fourteen left handed golfers have combined to win 86 times on the PGA Tour with Phil Mickelson accounting for 45 of those wins. Yes, that’s over half of the total amount of wins.

As regarding to major championships, left handed golfers like Bob Charles, Mike Weir, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson have gotten victories in these categories. Here is a table showing major championships won by some of the greatest  left handed golfers of all time.

Year Player Championship Venue Score
1963 Bob Charles Open Championship Royal Lytham & St Annes 277 ¹
2003 Mike Weir The Masters Augusta National 281 ²
2004 Phil Mickelson The Masters Augusta National 279
2005 Phil Mickelson US PGA Championship Baltusrol 276
2006 Phil Mickelson The Masters Augusta National 281
2010 Phil Mickelson The Masters Augusta National 272
2012 Bubba Watson The Masters Augusta National 278 ³
2013 Phil Mickelson Open Championship Muirfield 281 (-3)

As you can see, lefties have also won popular major championships and PGA Tour events, once again cementing the fact that both handed players are of no significant advantage over the other.

The Advantages Of Being Left-Handed

Lefties are known to be good at complex reasoning and divergent thinking based on research in the American Journal of Psychology.

A large number of Noble Prize Winners are actually lefties including writers, artists, mathematicians, musicians and architects.

The brain of a righty and lefty are not the same, in that their brain lateralization like the left side and right side are different. For left handed people, they have a more dominant right brain, that is the side of the brain that deals with creativity and imagination.

The creativity of a left handed person shows up at a tender age, as most have to figure their way around using tools and items made for right handed people. These items can include scissors and cups, and just about every item made for right handed people.

Another advantage of lefties is that they are able to interpret sounds differently. They process sounds more slowly than right handed people. Therefore they are able to pick up small nuances in speech and music, which explains why they are so good at song writing from the like of Celine Dion, Paul McCartney to Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts.

The most evident advantage though is in competitive sports. Most athletes are trained to face off with right handed players, so when confronted by a lefty, they are usually left surprised.

On the other hand, lefties are at a disadvantage in golf, as most of the clubs are designed to fit right handed people.

Disadvantages Of Being Left Handed

In a world filled with right handed people, it can be overwhelming to conform to society’s construct.

Interacting with a world of righties forces lefties to use their shield hand more often and that could potentially raise the activity in the brain hemisphere that is responsible for fear.

Left handed people are more hostile to their surroundings because of the negative responses that they might anticipate. Not to mention, they are more prone to suffer from mental illness that could largely be caused by environmental factors and genetics. They are one of the strongest people.

Final Verdict

Left handed people are rare and has mostly to do with genetics. Some say this rarity could be as a result of a genetic mutation in our distant past that caused the language centers of our brain to shift to the left hemisphere, thereby causing right handedness to dominate. But this is just mere speculation.

When it comes to golfing, there is no right or wrong way of the side you choose to play. A lot of left golfers are now choosing to play right handed to make it easier for them as most golf courses and equipment are tailored for righties.

Right handed people do not necessarily need to switch sides unless they feel strong in their abilities from one side of the golf ball. Righties will have a harder time though switching to left handed golf.



Scroll to Top