Which Hand Should Be Dominant in Golf Swing


In the game of golf, many of us are seeking that perfect looking or feeling golf swing.  We seek all the answers to many of the questions that come through our head during a round of golf or when we are practicing.  

One of those questions I have frequently asked myself is which hand should be dominant in the golf swing.

I wish there was a simple answer to this question, but we will explore the thoughts and teachings of some of the best golf instructors on the planet to help you discover what is best for your swing.

Left hand or right hand – which one should be dominant in golf swing?

In our journey of golf, we all want to play golf as often as possible and as consistently as possible.  We seek that feeling or swing thought that will provide that extra level of consistency and make more pars and birdies and less higher scores.

The overview below takes you to some of the best teachers and what they believe.  To answer the question succinctly… 

Which hand should be dominant in the golf swing? 

Either hand can be dominant based on your preference and the strength that you personally have in either arm.  There is not a better hand to use over the other, but there are golf instructors that promote one side of the other.

Quick Tip:

Try out the different feelings with each hand being the dominant hand and see what works best for you.  For someone like Nick Faldo, he used both hands at different times depending on what side of the course he wanted to eliminate. 

In a recent podcast with Mark Immelman as he appeared on the On the Mark podcast, Sir Nick Faldo shared that if he wanted to eliminate the left side of the course he used his left side to be dominant and if he wanted to eliminate the right side he left his right side to be dominant.

Overview: Which Hand Should be Dominant in the Golf Swing:

  • Bobby Lopez – Left Hand
  • Jim Venetos – Left Hand
  • Mike Malaska – Right Hand
  • Tony Luczak – Right Hand
  • Shawn Clement – Either Hand

The teachers above all promote one side over the other side except for Shawn Clement, who has instructional videos based on what hand you prefer over the other.  They all believe that the non-dominant hand plays a role, but believe that the swing should be controlled by the dominant hand.

Bobby Lopez – Left Hand – What He Teaches

Bobby Lopez wants you to load up on the rear leg in your golf swing and then pull down with the left hand. He often cites Sergio Garcia and other golfers and the advice that they were given:

  • Al Geiberger – “I feel that I am ringing a bell”
  • Ben Hogan – “I feel that I am puling an arrow out of hte quiver”
  • Davis Love III – “My Dad taught me to pound a stake into the ground”
  • Sergio Garcia – “My Dad taught me to pull on the chain with both hands”
  • Jack Nicklaus – “I feel that I have to get my arms to the ball before the buttons on my shirt”

Ultimately, Bobby Lopez is trying to get the arms to move while the left shoulder waits.  This is a feeling or a sensation to make sure the body doesn’t get ahead of the ball and get “offsides.”

Check out this video with Bobby Lopez:

Major Takeaways:

  • Feel the pulling of the club.  You can use either hand, but Bobby prefers using the left side.
  • Stay “onsides” which means keeping your left shoulder and your head behind the ball at impact.  Do not move forward and slide.
  • Invert your shoulders.  
  • Throw the club down the line after you load up on your back leg.

Full Bobby Lopez Review Here

Jim Venetos – Left Hand – What He Teaches

A completely alternative swing that has a focus on pre setting your shoulders to help control the swing path.  Loading the weight up on the left side and then staying still as your arms and hands move to deliver the club in a circular motion to the ball. 

If you haven’t come across Jim Venetos yet, you must check it out. He promotes the left side controlling everything in the full swing and the one time we really use our right side is with chipping.  He has videos that show that the left side helps promote a draw swing, while the right arm would promote more of a fade swing.

Major Takeaways:

  • The left shoulder works as an axis point in the swing.
  • You want to create a circular strike, the left arm will help create a shallow strike.
  • Your left side is pre equipped to make a circular, shallow strike on the swing.
  • The bottom of the swing will be in front of the left shoulder.  All balls will be struck with a descending blow.
  • The weaker, amateur golfer hits the ground before the ball on a miss.  By setting up on the left side and allowing the left arm to work, you can better control the bottom point in your swing with the correct path.  The circular path helps create the power.

Quick Tip:

When my body starts to get ahead of my arms and hands, I find this swing to work great to quiet down and sync the arms and body back up.  What actually feels like stillness actually isn’t, but it does help match everything back up.

Full Jim Venetos Review Here

Mike Malaska – Right Hand – What He Teaches

Mike Malaska promotes training your right side to control the swing.  He wants us to go back to something as the putting stroke to feel the motion of the right hand and arm and then build up from there. 

He believes we must train our hands and provide a task to reach our best levels of golf. The club face is controlled by the right hand.  Mike has some excellent videos on training the right hand and the roles that it plays.

Major Takeaways:

  • Mike Malaska promotes using the right hand and training it to throw or release in the proper manner.
  • It compares the movement of the right hand to other sports such as baseball.
  • “It is so easy to be consistent with your ball flight” because we are not holding the face off in the downswing.  We are releasing and allow the right hand to work in the swing.

Full Mike Malaska Review Here

Tony Luczak – Right Hand – What He Teaches

Tony Luczak might be one of the smartest golf instructors out there from his level of studies that he is currently going through to prove the thesis of the right side controlling the golf swing. 

The name of his approach is “Reactionary Golf” as he believes that the right hand and side controls the golf swing the body reacts to the swinging of the right side.  

Major Takeaways:

  • Golfers do not need to fire their lower body for it to actually move.
  • The body will respond to the movement of the arms.
  • We have to be careful not to lock our arms to our shoulders by having our shoulders being too tight.
  • We can generate plenty of speed with our arm speed.
  • We are always aware of where our hands are through proprioception.
  • There is a difference between your arms moving and your arms being moved.  Your arms can be moved by your shoulders, but it is not the same as moving your arms.
  • We don’t want to just throw the arms at the ball. Create in our mind the type of shot that we want to hit, which can impact the movement of the arms.  We are trying to match the path back up and get everything moving through the ball.

Shawn Clement – Either Hand – What He Teaches

Shawn Clement spends time in his videos teaching both the traditional right sided throw and the left handed backhand throw.  He understands that people have different strengths and different dominant hands. In his approach, he teaches you to use the hand that is stronger and is more of your dominant hand. 

I appreciate this approach for those golfers that are left handed in life, but play golf right handed or vice versa. His wealth of information and videos that he provides are top notch and he helps keep the game simple.  Regardless of the swing, he wants golfers to load up, get behind the ball and throw the club and the hands towards the target.

Major Takeaways:

  • Back handed hammer for the left handed or front arm dominated swing.
  • Promotes a drill that pounds the nail into the door frame.
  • Regardless of the arm, he wants golfers to have a target off in far distance and an intermediate target.
  • He promotes staying focused on the target and using the thought, “out of the way, out of the way” and then squeezing the ball into the “doorframe”
  • The focus is on driving the ball.
  • The swing is natural and great for golfers of all ability levels.

Full Shawn Clement Review Here

Summary

I think it is best to consider each of these instructors.  If you are someone that wants a more natural swing, then I would recommend MIke Malaska or Shawn Clement.  If you want great access for a low price, Bobby Lopez has a lot to offer.  

If you want an alternative swing, Jim Venetos will walk you through every step and be there by your side in his golf academy.  If you love to dive deep into science and want to activate your right side then Tony Luczak might be perfect for you.  

I have found that on different days I need to have more of a feeling in the right hand and some days more in the left hand.  I believe that practicing both feelings and training both arms is in our best interest as golfers. Even the teachers above, will promote training both arms and making sure both hands and arms have a role in the swing.

Learn your swing, try the different feels and don’t forget about the short game if you want to quickly reduce your scores!  Check out our post on different feels in the golf swing, here.

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

We must find a way to practice and chain frequently. I know we are all busy, but simply chipping in your yards or practicing putting in your basement will help. Or you can do what I did and build a golf simulator to play pretty realistic golf 365 days a year!

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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