For centuries now people have been doing things the wrong way. I'm not exactly sure who the first person was that did something backwards, but I bet his ass drowned as Noah was pumping golf balls into the great blue sea off the Ark's poop deck (and rest assured, there would have been plenty of poop). Golfers all over the world have a tendency to do things backwards as well, starting from which side of the ball they play.
Just so you know, I'm not entirely against people playing the game left-handed. It just depends on their reasons for doing so. Things like trickery, hockey, drunkenness, and torture have all contributed to people playing the game left-handed. These, however, are not good enough reasons (or tactics) to get you to play golf from the left side. Some of them, however, are great tactics to use to get your rear end out of the house when your mother-in-law comes over for the weekend.
Of course, only a few people that play the game left-handed actually need to play the game left-handed. How do you know if you need to play the game left-handed, you ask? It all depends on what you would score right-handed. If it's more than 150, you should play from the left side of the ball. Less than 150 and you've got to stay put - that is, stay on the right side. (The only stipulation being that if you score between 130 and 150 you should also pack along three bottles of hard liquor that should be entirely consumed during your round.) How do I know this, you ask? I don't. It's just my theory.
In the lefty's defense, there have been a number of world-class players who win championships from the left side. Bob Charles, Phil Mickelson, and Mike Weir might be the most prominent golfers to win from "the left." Before Bob Charles, the record books are a little sketchy regarding leftys. It appears as if those who did play the game from the left side before the 1940's couldn't break 100, couldn't actually find left-handed clubs, or died horrific deaths from small pox, rabies, or impetigo.
Something else that's interesting about left-handed golfers is their size. Of the entire lot, Mickelson seems to be the only one who ate his Wheaties while growing up. The others - Weir, Cochrane, Charles, and Flesch - collectively weigh the equivalent of Tim Herron's neck. This is not to say that "Lumpy" is overly lumpy, because anyone, in my opinion, who finishes in the top-10 at a US Open at Pinehurst must be a finely tuned athlete. Rather, it signifies the weird trend of left-handed golfers opting for the transparent, or "Flat Stanley" look. Cudos to them - just means there'll be more choco puffs for Lumpy and me.
Interestingly, Canada has more left-handed golfers than any country in the world. More than 30% of Canadians play golf standing on the oppressive side of the ball. The theory behind this is that Canadian babies, instead of growing up with diapers, teething rings, and rattles, grow up with jock straps for Pampers, pucks for teething rings, and sawed-off hockey sticks as substitutes for rattles. Due to a high percentage of these toothless wonders growing into big, strapping left-wingers with, you guessed it, booming left-hand shots, there is a correspondingly high number of left-handed golfers who wind up terrorizing the links. Interestingly, there are more fights and club infractions that occur on Canadian golf courses as well. i.e. Rule 42-5(b) in the Royal Canadian Golf Association Decisions Book states: A player shall incur a two stroke penalty for sticking his club between an opponents legs as he's about to putt. (c) A player shall incur a five-stroke major penalty for dropping his gloves and beating the snot out of his opponent.
Yes, it appears as if the left-handed golfer is here to stay. With left-handed talent on display from the likes of Mickelson and Weir, and Canadian couples having limited recreational options in the wintertime but to breed hockey players, lefties will continue to attack our courses. That is, until the next flood.
Andrew Penner is a 10-year member of the Canadian PGA. His upcoming golf humor book, titled "One Flew Over The Caddyshack," will be available this fall from Falcon Press.
Andrew Penner is a freelance writer and photographer based in Calgary, Alberta. His work has appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout North America and Europe. You can see more of his work at www.andrewpenner.com.
We all love golf course rankings, but there's quite a bias involved, huh? Host a major championship and you're basically guaranteed a spot on the list. What about the average duffer who's more impressed with the beer list than the slope/rating - or prefers friendliness over the fine, imported lotion in the locker room? Where's our list, hackers? Answer: Right here.
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