Which Hand Should Be Dominant in Golf Swing? (Overview)

Golf is a difficult game, there often seems to be nothing natural about it.

We stand over the ball, thinking about where to move our hands, shoulders, hips and when to release the club, all while keeping our head down.

We can become stuck over the ball as we struggle to hit the different positions in the golf swing.  This can lead to tension in the swing and a lack of overall quality shots.

There has been plenty of instruction on hitting certain positions throughout the golf swing, but rarely do we hear about which hand should be dominant in the golf swing.

Recently, I have experimented with both feelings and approaches and have found success and clarity for my own game.

Which Hand Should Be Dominant in Golf Swing?

The Left Hand.  A golfer can experience some high level of success when they focus on matching up the back of the left hand and can control the club face with their left hand.  An overactive right hand can lead to flipping the club and a lost of lag.

Some Keys To Using the Left Hand in The Golf Swing

  • The back of the left hand can serve as a focus point on where the club is aiming.
  • The left hand allows you to maintain lag.
  • A strong left hand allows you to square up the face with body rotation

Some Quick Basics

The golf swing can seem complicated.  For years the golfer was taught to open the club face on the way back and then close it on the way through.  The golfer was taught to have the toe facing up when the club was first starting in the backswing when it reached parallel to the ground.  This caused a lot of clubface rotation and relied on the hands timing up the release to hit a quality shot.

In today’s golf instruction, the golfer is taught to keep the clubface more closed and use the body to rotate back and through with the left hand being a major key to success.  If the left hand releases too early, the golf club can bottom out prematurely and solid contact is difficult to maintain.

Overall, the key to any quality golf swing is being able to control the start line in the golf swing.  This comes from being able to control the club face.  The better the golfer is, the higher probability that he or she is able to control the club face and the direction it is pointing at impact.

This golfer appears to use too much right hand.

Key #1: The Back of the Left Hand

When I am playing my best golf, I can feel that the back of the left hand is controlling my club face.  I am able to make a full turn back and through and focus on matching up the back of my left hand at a quality position for impact.  I am still able to release the club head with my left hand and keep it moving through impact to generate enough speed to play quality golf.

Once the golfer is able to develop the feels for where the left hand needs to be, he or she is well on their way to playing quality golf.  The golfer should experiment with the different positions and feels to see what numbers are produced on a launch monitor or simply watch the ball flight when practicing.

Key #2: Left Hand and Lag

The best golfers are able to maintain lag by keeping the left hand pointed back or supinated.  Try this at home: go ahead and put your left arm straight out with your hand facing away from the target.  Go ahead and flex your wrist so that you can see the palm of your hand without moving your arm.  Go ahead and close your hand as if you were gripping your golf club with your left hand.  This is a similar position to where your hand should be at impact.

Many people think lag is created through the hinging of the wrists up and down when the reality is that it has more to do with the position described above.  

Eventually, the hand and wrist do release as if you were smacking something with the back of your hand as your clubhead speeds through impact.  The golfer is able to maximize their speed through the releasing of the left hand.

Key #3: Left Hand and Rotation

When the body can make a proper pivot, the left hand can still play a major role in ensuring the clubface is squared up.  The golfer can see that it doesn’t take a lot of hand action, but simply the golfer must use the simple flexing motion described above.

One important part to this all is that the player is able to make solid contact, have a quality launch angle and control the flight of the ball by controlling the left hand.

If you haven’t tried playing golf and controlling the club face direction and loft with the left hand, it is time to give it a shot.

Next Steps: Try It Out

The next time you head to the range, give it a shot and focus on the left hand controlling the clubface direction and the amount of loft you are providing.

  • You will want to start with half swings with your arms, but rotate the body back and through.
  • Next progress to some longer swings with some additional flexing of the left wrists.
  • Finally, move to a full swing and work on developing feels that produce the ball flight you seek by controlling the clubface with your left hand.

Recommended Drill

Great Technology

One piece of technology that can provide some amazing feedback is a launch monitor. 

While most people will not be able to afford a Flightscore or Trackman, there are some greation options on the market that are affordable to the typical amateur golfer. 

I went with the SkyTrak (Top 11 Reasons to Buy a SkyTrak) and can now practice and play golf 365 days a year and I don’t lose time int he winter due to my golf simulator setup in my garage.  Golfers can use the launch monitor in several different settings:

  • Somewhere in their house as part of a golf simulator setup.
  • In a garage, simply using a mat, net and launch monitor.
  • Take the launch monitor with you the driving range or golf course for immediate feedback.

With the launch monitors at the most affordable price points, you will receive the following feedback:

  • Carry and Total Distance
  • Ball Speed
  • Launch Angle
  • Spin Rate
  • Spin Axis

You can build a swing that is consistent and you can count on from round to round.  Here are my top three recommended launch monitors at an affordable price!

Final Thoughts

The key to building a swing that you can count on is having a place to practice and experiment.  With a launch monitor, you can build a swing you can count on.  However, it takes time and effort to develop the feels, understand the numbers and work on a consistent swing that you can own and be proud of.  The key to quality golf as far as full swing is built on three keys:

Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better

What does this mean for you?  I believe in the following recipe to get better:

1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor.  Here are some options:

Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:

2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed.  Here are some options:

Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:

3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier.  Here is a series on breaking through:

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

4 – Practice Frequently

Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system?  It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:

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