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Jun 23, 2023

Here's a quick, niche golf joke for you:

Q: What do you call two lefties playing golf together?A: "Demo Day."

My friend Andy Nelson, a fellow lefty and club pro at Riomar Country Club in Vero Beach, Fla., told me that one the first time we played golf together. It's absolutely true. Whenever we tee it up together, we inevitably hit extra shots with each other's clubs several times during the round. It's a rare opportunity to tinker a bit, or to simply see what's out there beyond the most basic and limited options. In fact, Andy is currently enjoying a set of irons that had been previously gathering in my office closet.

Golf's inter-lefty loan program is a silver lining to an otherwise dismal history. And with July 23 marking the first time two left-handed players won PGA Tour events on the same day - Brian Harman at The Open, Akshay Bhatia at the Barracuda Championship - it's time to speak out:

We southpaws remain under-served by golf equipment companies.

Back when the Edwin Watts golf equipment catalog's arrival was the highlight of a given month's mail deliveries, the pleasure of poring over the latest new drivers or putters was often interrupted by three terrible words: "Right Hand Only."

It was like a right hook to the gut, followed by the tired joke, "You know what your problem is? You're hitting from the wrong side of the ball!" (If I had a dollar for every time I heard that one, I'd be richer than Phil Mickelson.)

It's not as rough as it used to be, but lefties remain second-class golfers to many companies. Several manufacturers only make left-handed versions of certain models of clubs available, or certain lofts. I have always thought Mizuno made beautiful-looking blade irons, and almost every golfer I know who has gamed them has adored them. Unfortunately, I have never been able to experience them for myself, as the company only makes certain clubs left-handed.

There are currently three models of Mizuno Pro forged irons - the muscle-back 221, the cavity-back 223 and the more substantial but still blade-shaped 225. Only the 223 model comes in left-handed.

One company that has consistently made irons for both righties and lefties is Titleist. From college until just a couple of years ago, I gamed a set of 710 MBs (i.e. "muscleback blades"). It's only right that a company that used to sponsor Phil Mickelson and currently sponsors reigning Open Champion Brian Harman is good to lefties. On the other side of the coin, though, Titleist's Scotty Cameron putter brand has historically made a fraction of its releases available to lefties. In their current 10-model line of Super Select putters, just four are available to southpaws.

Among the top tier of equipment manufacturers, TaylorMade and Callaway have improved their offerings in recent years, but have not yet achieved total equipment parity between the dexterities. The biggest gaps are in fairway wood loft availability and wedge options when it comes to different lofts and bounce angles. I prefer low-bounce wedges and as a result, I have stuck mostly to Titleist and Cleveland over the years.

I have only found two companies that offer complete freedom of choice when it comes to golf club dexterity:


PING's kindness to lefties is not a recent development. That respect runs decades deep, back to the days of its legendary line of bronze putters, which even included some of the more obscure models in LH. I have a small but cherished collection of these old-school flatsticks that includes standards like the ANSER and PAL as well as more unusual entries like the CUSHIN and O-BLADE, as well as the o.g. 1-A, the putter whose "PING" sound made PING a "golf brand."

I am faithful to my @Evnroll gamer, but I have collected assorted classic @PingTour putter models over the years for indoor putting pleasure. Here are a few of them:- 1-A- CUSHIN- PAL- ANSERPING has been kind to us lefties for decades; it is appreciated. pic.twitter.com/r46LIv5yXm

"At PING, we always introduce the left-handed version of a new club at the same time as right-handed versions," said Pete Samuels, PING's director of marketing and communications. "That commitment goes way back to Karsten Solheim’s time and his desire to support all golfers, regardless of dexterity."

PING's support of left-handed golfers is noticeable at the professional and even influencer levels. Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson signed a lifetime contract with PING in 2020, and earlier in 2023, PING contracted golf broadcaster, writer and lefty Shane Bacon to be a brand ambassador with duties that include co-hosting the company's Proving Grounds podcast and helping to create other content.

PXG is less than a decade old, but their commitment to complete availability of golf clubs is no less admirable. As with PING, the excuses I’ve heard for why other companies don’t treat lefties as well – club tooling is expensive to replicate for lefties, lefties represent a fraction of the market, lefty clubs don’t sell well when they do get made, yadda yadda yadda – don’t seem to apply to PXG.

Naturally, those two brands occupy most of the real estate in my bag; I have a PING driver and PXG irons. I’m happy to support the companies that support me as a left-handed golfer.

A post shared by Leftee Golf (@lefteegolfco)

- Among the sea of nascent golf brands doing a lot of business through Instagram, I have to give a shoutout to Leftee Golf, an accessories brand by left-handed golfers, for left-handed golfers. In addition to some snazzy limited-drop merchandise, they support and promote young up-and-coming southpaw golfers, including Bret Gray, who won the 114th Texas Amateur in June.

- There are a couple of nice advantages to being a left-handed golfer. Growing up and learning the game, I was able to mirror my father’s right-handed golf swing as we would hit balls face to face. Even though I take pride in being left-handed, I hope my daughter takes to the game right-handed, so we can do the same mirror-move as she picks it up.

- Left-handers still represent fewer than 10% of the overall golfing population, but we get at least 25% of the advantage in major championships each year, as Augusta National is very much a left-handed golf course. Several tee shots and approaches set up particularly nicely for us, none more so than the tee shot on the famous par-3 12th, where a left-handed shot dispersion pattern follows the axis of the tiny green. Right-handed golfers, on the other hand, tend to find the front bunker or Rae’s Creek when they push a shot, or the back bunker or collection area when they pull one. It is not a coincidence that lefties have won so many Masters this century.

- Did you know there is a National Association of Left-Handed Golfers (NALG)? It has existed in one form or another since 1936, and oversees the organization of lefties-only tournaments around the country. The 2024 NALG champioship will be at Pine Lakes Country Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C. next September. The association currently has about 500 left-handed golfers on its email list; click here to learn more.

I knew you'd be the guy writing this. Well done... Do I get honorary membership into this club since I putt left-handed now (and used to chip that way)?

Mike, I hereby designate you an official Ally of Lefty Golfers! If you're still putting left-handed the next time we play, we can reassess increasing your level of membership.

Tim, Interesting piece on Lefty golf, but can you say something about golf switch hitters? Phil is a righty who plays left, (I have heard) Phil's brother is a lefty who plays right. I'm a lefty who plays right, why? Back when I was a kid (1960 or so) someone (probably my Father) handed me a club and said "This is how you do it." Why do I still play right? Equipment availability is not as big a factor as it used to be, but someone once explained to me that switch hitting may make a stronger golf swing. The explanation said that the lead arm pulls the club through the swing and provides most of the power, while the trailing arm provides guidance. When you switch hit you are using you stronger arm to provide the power. Is this true? Thoughts? Whatever the answer, I'm not going relearn how to play. Phil is happy with his switch hit game, and I'm happy with mine.

Glenn, I don't think there's enough evidence to suggest that playing golf against your dexterity is the way to go. Sure, Phil plays left-handed despite being a right-handed person (Jordan Spieth, the opposite), but Tiger and Jack and Arnie are/were all natural-born righties and they played pretty well.