Right, Left, or Which One?
John Spelman, PGA
Head Golf Professional, Richland Country Club
I wish I could say I was an avid reader. I enjoy reading but I am probably just to lazy to become an avid reader. When I do read, I'm a bit unorthodox in that I tend to pick up books, open them to any page and begin reading.
Last night I opened "Swinging Into Golf" by Ernest Jones. Many of you may be familiar with this book. First published in 1937, Jones was an English professional who lost his right leg in World War I. Jones believed that "the golf swing can be readily taught and consistently performed, but only if it is conceived as one, overall movement. The body and all its parts should be treated as disastrous leaders but wholly admirable followers of the actions of the hands and fingers". I have written to you before regarding what I believe to be the importance of properly using the hands and arms in the golf swing. In "Swinging Into Golf", Mr. Ernest Jones quotes Bobby Jones regarding this as well "At the start of the backswing be certain not to lift the club with the right hand; start it back by a push with the left". Wonderfully simple advice! As a left handed person this is very easy and natural for me to do. For those of you righties, this may seem less comfortable. As a youngster I can remember a trend in golf instruction that focused on swinging the club with both hands working "together as a unit". Sounds great but doesn't work. Each of us is either left handed or right handed. Some may be able to perform like tasks with either hand but for the most part we are either one or the other.
As we swing the golf club, specifically as we begin the golf swing, we naturally will influence the golf club more with one hand than the other, our natural dominant hand. Over the years it has been widely accepted that the golf club should be swung with the left hand and that the right hand will apply the hit. For you left handed golfers, I apologize for speaking in right hand golf terminology. Ben Hogan would say he wished he had two right hands because he felt the power came from the release of the right hand. We have also often heard players that tend to hook the ball that the explanation for these hooks was the influence of "too much right hand". Well, which one is it, not enough or too much! This is when golf instruction becomes fun because as is the case most often there is no correct way to swing the club, if there was someone much smarter than I would have explained it long ago! My point regarding the Misters Jones is that how they swung the golf club worked for them. It may also work for you.
What I want you to do is to spend some time and find out whether you have success leading with the left or pushing with the right. It would make sense to me that if I am a right handed person and my right hand is positioned properly on the golf club and I swing the club on the correct path, I should be able to hit the ball as hard as I want with my right hand. Regardless of whether you are right handed or left handed, I promise you at some point in your career you will feel your dominant hand wanting to take over your golf swing, the dilemma then becomes to use it or fight it. One more bit of advice from Ernest Jones, "Good golf is easy to play, and easy golf is enjoyable golf. It is regrettable indeed that so many persons who play golf, or play at it, make such a labor of it". Enjoy your game.