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A time to hit from the left side

The need for a left-handed golf shot (by a right-handed golfer) occurs more often and on more critical occasions than most golfers think. It is a good shot to know, I can tell you, as I have had to make several left-handed shots in my golfing career. Once, at a key point in an early-round match with Truman Connell during the 1960 Colonial Amateur Invitational in Memphis, I was 1 up after 12 holes. On the 13th, a 500-yard par-5, I drove the ball off line to the right about two inches from the side of a tree; I had a good lie, but it was impossible to do anything right-handed except chip the ball a few feet. So I turned my five-iron upside down (see small drawing), swung left-handed and managed to hit the ball 150 yards down the fairway just 70 yards short of the green. I birdied the hole with a wedge and a short putt, eventually won this close match 2 and 1 and went on to win the tournament.

For this peculiar type of shot, employ a standard left-hand grip (in other words, your usual grip reversed) and swing left-handed, just trying to make sure you hit the ball. I favor using a five-, six-or seven-iron and turning it over so that you will hit the ball with the face of the club, not the back of it. These clubs are best, because they give you plenty of club face. They also can be adjusted—upside down—to supply any amount of loft you want. The next time you are on the practice tee, try some left-handed shots. A few moments of this practice will someday prove valuable to you in the course of play.



Nicklaus reverses his grip for a left-handed shot, turns club face over, hits hall with face of club.