Approximately 11% of the world’s population is left-handed and a much smaller percentage of that are actually golfers. So it is no surprise that there are limited choices when it comes to equipment, so much so that many lefties often choose to take up the game right-handed. Because the vast majority of golfers are right-handed, most manufacturers offer us lefties a very limited selection of equipment. Who can blame them really, the market is simply not there. Club producers are businesses; they are in it to make money. Bottom line; it is expensive to manufacture golf clubs. With 90-95% of the market being right-handed it’s hard to justify the expense.
My first ever round of golf was played right-handed and I fell in love with the sport but, I realized that playing from the right side was not going to be possible for me. I went out the next day and purchased a set of left-handed clubs and have never looked back. I didn’t take up the game until almost adulthood, I was 17 and as a beginner I didn’t really care about the make or the model of clubs I was hitting. My requirements were left-handed and cheap. As my handicap dropped I became more uptight about my equipment. Fifteen years later I’m a single digit handicap and extremely concerned with what’s in my bag. I’m always looking for that “magic bullet” to take the last couple of strokes off my index.
I don’t care to remember the number of times I’ve been in a golf shop to see a new driver or set of irons and think, “Wow that’s a great looking club…” only to be told they are available in right hand only. On the outside chance that the club is offered in left hand it would be a miracle if a demo is available, so it is often an expensive test drive when you actually have to purchase clubs to try them out. As club technology advances, I have to admit it is getting better now that fitting carts are showing up in stores. At least now there are a few demo options.
With all that said, I want to give kudos to Nike Golf for their commitment to us lefties. In 2011, Nike is manufacturing left-handed versions of all three driver models: the VR Pro Str8-Fit Tour, and both the round and square versions of the Machspeed Black driver. Rounding out the metal wood category are the VR Pro fairway woods and hybrids. Not all driver, fairway, and hybrid lofts are available but, a good variety can be purchased. Lefty versions of the VR Pro Cavity irons, the VR Pro Combo irons, and even the VR Pro Forged Blades, which I imagine is an extremely limited market, are available.
Now on to the scoring clubs, this is where every manufacturer, Nike included, leaves a lot to be desired. When talking wedges almost all the OEM’s produce left-handed lofts of 52*, 56*, and 60* with the standard bounce, but rarely will you find other options. With the pitching wedge lofts on some iron sets these days being 45-46*, that leaves a big gap between the pitching wedge and a 52* gap wedge. Nike does offer additional wedges in 50*, 55* and 60* with the VR Pro Cavity iron set, however I would like to see more loft and bounce options in the VR Pro Forged models. Last but not least are the putters where two left-handed versions in each group can be had—the 001 and 005 in the Method, the MC-3i and MC-5i in the Method Core, and the E-11 and E-33 versions of the Everclear putter. Again, I want variety in the putter lineup as well. I would love to see a left-handed Method 002 or 003.
In a perfect world all options would be offered in both right- and left-handed versions, but regardless of your orientation or your handicap Nike does a great job producing something for all of us. If you are planning for an addition to your club lineup, I would recommend giving the Nike line a try. Nike’s commitment to producing the best equipment for everyone including us that are turned the “wrong way” is second to none. So to my fellow lefties, what has your experience been when shopping for left-handed golf equipment?”