If you’re left-handed in the golf world, you’re probably accustomed to hearing golf tips and guidance and thinking to yourself “Great, but what does that mean if I’m a lefty?”
From pointers about form, swing, rotation, and grip, most golfers just expect lefties to reverse it all in their mind. Obviously, having a dominant left hand changes a lot about your experience of the game, and it can get tiring trying to learn golf techniques in a right-handed world.
Today we’re going to give you some tips to improve your golf grip and level up your game–from a lefties perspective.
The Advantage of Left Handed Golfing
Being a lefty does have its perks. While the majority of the Golf World consists of a bunch of right handed clones, as a lefty you’re certainly unique. Not just in the direction of your clubface, but in your ability to harness a different level of creativity and personal style on the course. Although lefties make up less than 5% of the PGA tour, they have been known to surge to victories with unorthodox shots through branches, around tree trunks, or a handful of other obstacles.
Simply put, being a lefty means you get to play from a different angle than everyone else–and you’re able to see the game differently.
The Disadvantage of Left Handed Golfing
Equipment. Every lefty knows the pain of finding left handed clubs that both fit them, and suit their needs. Inventory for left handed golfers is limited, so most lefties feel like they have to fight to get what they want before it’s out of stock.
Additionally, while there are a few well-known brands that cater to both right and left handed golfers, many brands aren’t engineered to left-handed mechanics. It may be the case that even if there is inventory, you’ll struggle to find quality equipment.
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Steps To a Basic Left Handed Golf Grip
Step 1: Relax
Pick up a club and get set in your golf stance. Pay attention to how the club feels in your hands. Do you feel tense? Are you hunched over the club? Stay set for a few minutes. White knuckled golfers will never get the results they’re looking for. If your hands, neck or any other part of your body hurts you’re probably gripping the club too tight, bending too far over, or doing something you shouldn’t be.
Step 2: Club Waist High
Is the clubface square to the ground? The club should be horizontal and about waist level. You should only have to bend over just slightly. More than a couple of inches and your clubs are probably too small.
Step 3: Right Hand First
For left handed hitters, the right hand is the foundation of the swing. Place your right hand on the gripped, fingers relaxed and spread apart. The handle should rest on your right palm so as to make a diagonal across your fingers.
Step 4: Top of Club Near Right Palm
Close your right hand. Your hand should rest near the top of the club, the top of the handle visible, but only slightly.
Step 5: Left Hand to Right Thumb
Cover your right thumb with the heel of your left hand. When closed, your hand and your forefinger should create a V. And you have a basic golf grip!
Tips from Left-Handed Golf Pros
Mike Weir stands as the only Canadian Golfer to win a Major so far. He’s a great example of the discipline that should be implemented for left handed golfers. His signature move, a practice backswing before the swing reinforces proper right side bend and swing path before he even hits the ball.
If there’s anyone who can relate to the struggles of left handed golfing it’s Phil Mickleson. Despite his struggles however, he’s managed to win over 44 Professional Golf Events.
More than others, Phil stresses the importance of balance in the swing. To him, you only need to swing as fast as needed to maintain your balance. He believes that only 80% effort is required for a winning shot.
2 time Master’s Champion Bubba Watson stresses the importance of proper footing on the course. Like Phil, Bubba believes that balance is the key to a great swing. Proper footwork, he argues, will enable you to swing the club at speeds that you’ll be able to control.
Types of Grips
There are a handful of grip styles that have acclaimed significant popularity both on the tour and among amateurs. We’ll describe each below and how they differ:
The Ten-Finger Grip:
Often nicknamed the “the baseball grip,” the ten-finger golf grip requires all 10 fingers to make contact with the club. It is the easiest grip to use, and optimizes for maximum leverage from the arms to deliver increased power and distance. As a grip it makes sense, since it’s usually the most intuitive grip that golfers take when placing their hands on the club.
How To Do it:
- Take the golf club and put your non-dominant hand (your leading hand) on the grip under the club at the end of the grip closest to the head.
- With your dominant hand (your trailing hand) wrap your fingers above the other hand. Your non-dominant thumb should be placed in a thumbs-up position pointed towards the head of the club. Your dominant hand’s right little finger should be touching the side of your non-dominant hand’s left index finger.
- Position your dominant thumb slightly pointing to the left, while your non-dominant thumb points slightly to the right.
- As you swing, rotate your forearms like you’re swinging a baseball bat.
The Left Handed Interlocking Grip:
The Interlocking grip is performed by interlocking the pinky finger of your bottom hand with the index finger of your top hand. The Interlocking grip offers greater control in the swing. It serves as a sort of happy medium; your maximum power is reduced, but your control increases.
How To Do It:
- Put the shaft of the golf club in your right and left hand
- Lock your left pinky between your right index and middle finger
- Wrap your left index finger around the handle
- Your left thumb should be pointing straight down
Your golf grip will change widely over the course of a hole. You shouldn’t grip your driver the same way you would your putter: you’re not looking for power on the green, nor are you looking for touch at the tee.
The Left Handed Overlapping Grip
The overlap grip is another alternative. The overlap grip is most popular among professionals and advanced amateur golfers. If you make up for it with rotation power, you’ll be able to shoot a similar distance with better shot placement.
How To Do It:
- Grab the club with your right hand
- Place the pinky of your bottom hand between the middle and index fingers of your top hand
- The thumb of your top hand should fit inside your bottom hand
Driver Grip vs Putter Grip
While there are a few basic components of the golf grip that are consistent throughout play, it goes without saying that while your grip on the fairway may resemble your grip at the tee, holding a putter is a different animal altogether.
Holding a Driver as a Left Handed Golfer:
Since you’re looking to optimize for power and consistency here, just plan on sticking to whatever grip you feel most comfortable with on the range. Regardless of which you choose, the same principles apply: right hand first, then left hand. Your thumb and index finger should make a V that lines up with your torso.
Putter grips are far more versatile than regular grips; really anything goes. While the cross handed and overlap grips have gained some level of popularity, variations of these run rampant on the course.
Golf Equipment for Lefties–How Does my Golf Grip Depth Affect my Swing?
It’s no question that for lefties, finding the right clubs can be difficult. While your clubs certainly affect aspects of your swing like trajectory, tempo, etc., grip thickness is what most directly relates to your grip.
The Standard Tape may Not Be for Everyone
A standard golf club has 1 tape wrap– meaning that there’s about 1/64th of an inch between your hands and the metal. A jumbo grip has 8 or more tape wraps, or 1/8th of an inch or more. There are variations of grip thickness and size throughout that spectrum, simply because when it comes to golf, there’s no one size fits all solution.
Follow the advice above to revamp your grip. If you’re still having issues, it might be time to invest in some new tape. There’s lots of good advice out there for how to choose the correct grips size.
Being a lefty is a gift and a curse. Our advice is make sure you find the right equipment, and give extra care to your backswing, foot positioning, and your grip mechanics to elevate your performance on the course. Lefty golfing is different, no doubt, but with the proper steps you can utilize a playbook that right handed golfers can only dream about!