There are very few left-handed female golfers, but for those leftie ladies out there, from the choice of equipment or instruction they don't get a look in.
Considering that one-tenth of the population are left-handed, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d find a similar number of ‘lefties’ walking the nation’s fairways. Trish Rockett soon found out this wasn’t to be the case when, shortly after taking up the game, she was informed by a fellow player that she was playing the wrong way round! It wasn’t long however before Trish, who plays out of Dunmurry Golf Club in Northern Ireland, discovered that being a left-hander was to be more troublesome than merely withstanding unhelpful comments.
‘’Often being a left-handed golfer is a useful conversation point when starting a game, however, beyond the curiosity of why I didn’t try to play right-handed in the beginning there is little thought given to the challenges.
Having previously played two sports where ‘forehand’ at the expected ‘backhand’ side was a useful advantage, this does not transfer to golf!’’
Of course, there is nothing to suggest that playing ‘the wrong way round’ should hinder a player’s golfing progress. That Trish’s club colleague and Dunmurry lady captain Fiounnala McGrady plays off six is testament to that.
Nonetheless, if you were to ask a group of lady golfers to name a top left-handed woman professional, you’re likely to be greeted with a long silence.
Of course it wouldn’t be long before Bubba Watson’s or Phil Mickelson is mentioned, both of whom undoubtedly boost the profile of left-handed golf (although, as is well known, Mickelson is not a natural leftie) but to find a women’s equivalent may take a little more thought.
In fact it would take a lot more thought.
In 2014 there was a grand total of zero (yes zero!) women playing on the LPGA Tour, not exactly inspirational stuff for the next generation of left-handed female golfers. Incredibly, of the four left-handed men to have won a men’s major championship, only Bubba Watson is a natural left-hander (Bob Charles, Mike Weir and Phil ‘Lefty’ Mickelson were all born right-handed.)
Whilst the average golf shop may well stock a left-handed driver or two, you’ll count yourself lucky if you can stumble across a club of any sort of the female variety. Of course this is a standard case of supply and demand. After all, your average club pro is unlikely to be swamped by hordes of left-handed women any time soon.
This leaves our ‘leftie lady’ with a quandary. Order the clubs blind in the hope they will match your needs or traverse the nation’s golf shops in the hope of finding something which may be suitable. Terry Sims founder of Left Handed Golf based at Silvermere Golf Club, thinks he may have solved this problem. His shop, as the name suggests, caters merely for the left-handed golfer and offers a huge range of clubs for both men and ladies alike.
Even better he offers custom-ftting, an unexpected issue for the ‘leftie’ since bays are set up for the right-handed golfer, so that the customer no longer has to like it or lump it when it comes to golf equipment. Nonetheless, it’s not merely equipment that gives the left-hander a headache. Whilst being a cack-hander as well as a left-hander may just make Trish Rockett one of the most difficult people in the United Kingdom to teach, she’s found out first-hand that being a ‘leftie’ is troublesome for player and coach alike. Indeed it proves so tricky that her coach now provides her with a written follow-up email to ensure everything was turned around appropriately!
Still, there’s no real reason to be left out. The truth of the matter is, golf is a hard enough game to play, whichever way round you happen to be playing.
The above is an extract from the May/June 2016 issue of Women & Golf magazine, on sale now. Never miss an issue click here to subscribe and enjoy W&G delivered to your door.
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