There aren’t a whole lot of left-handers in the world of professional golf. Maybe this shouldn’t be too surprising when we consider that only about ten percent of the world population is left-handed. Add to that fact the number of young left-handers that switch to golfing right-handed in order to avoid the scarcity of good left-handed equipment options and the percentage of left-handed professional golfers dips below global average to about seven percent. If they didn’t already have enough disadvantages, it is also important to remember that nearly all published golf instruction is directed toward a right-handed swing and many golf instructors struggle to coach left-handers. Despite there being such disadvantages, however, lefties have started to make a name for themselves in professional golf.
Phil Mickelson is easily the most well-known left-handed golfer (so much so that many refer to him simply as “Lefty”) because he is by far the most successful. Mickelson has been a force on the PGA tour for years, amassing 40 PGA Tour wins total (ranking him 9th all time) and 4 major championship victories. That’s not just good for a left-hander, that’s just good.
Mickelson is far from being the only successful left-handed golfer however. Just this year, left-handed golfer Bubba Watson added two Tour victories to the two he had already earned in his young career and is considered one of the more promising players on tour. In addition to Mickelson and Watson here is a short list of some of the more successful lefties in professional golf:
- Mike Weir – eight time PGA Tour winner, including the 2003 Masters
- Nick O’Hern – has reached top 20 in world golf rankings
- Russ Cochran – finished in the top 10 on 60 different occasions on the PGA Tour.
- Steve Flesch – 4 time PGA tour winner
- Bob Charles – first left-hander to win on the PGA Tour (1963 Houston Classic) and first left-hander to win a major championship (1963 British Open)
A large number of studies have been done to determine behavioral connections to handedness and some of them have interesting implications that relate specifically to golf. A good body of information indicates that left-handers tend to be more creative and spatially adept. Experts connect this to brain hemisphere usage and this might possibly explain Phil Mickelson’s well known creative shot making style or Bubba Watson’s eccentricity on (and off) the course.
Other connections seem to be less founded, such as theories about driving distance and left-handedness. Bubba Watson is a prolifically long hitter and currently leads the PGA Tour in driving distance at just over 315 yards per drive. Mickelson and Weir were long hitters in their primes as well. These cases seem to be coincidental, however, and not justifiably linked to any advantage that swinging at the ball from the left side might have. Case in point, while Watson tops the list for driving distance, lefty Nick O’Hern comes in dead last, ranked number 191 and averaging less than 270 yards per drive.
Phil Oscarson is not left-handed, but does love golf. After researching and being around so many left-handed golfers, he decided to write about it. If you’re left-handed, you can find discount golf in your area. If you’re a right-handed golfer, you can find other cheap golf deals in your area.
Photo Credit: twitter.com