The Role of the Right Hand in the Golf Swing

I am a lefty who plays right handed. Thus you would think I’d have an advantage, but no, due to my right hand. I can hit the ball better when I place my right hand over my left (not cross-handed, just a weak grip), but, I know that isn’t a good grip or the best way to swing the club. Could you give me an idea of the true role the right hand should play, and what I can do to minimize its influence?


right hand role only tips drills

There are many misconceptions about the role of the right hand in the golf swing; the most common being that it’s “just along for the ride”. The truth is, in a right-handed swing the right arm is crucial in supporting the club on the downswing, ensuring it’s on the right path, developing lag and assuring the clubface rotates to a square position at impact. Its role is something that should not be minimized.

From the top of your backswing, your right shoulder drops down and begins to turn as your right arm and elbow drops down. This movement is what initiates the “finding the slot” or “attacking from the inside” and puts the club into a solid lag creating position. If this doesn’t happen, your left arm is forced to transfer the power you’re right arm isn’t, to the ball. This will cause you to release your wrists from their cocked position prematurely, resulting in an out to in swing path and a loss of power.

As you swing down into impact, the right hand maintains the lag position and helps to exaggerates it. If you grab a club and swing only with your left hand; as you come into impact the centrifugal force alone will cause your wrist to release early. The right and left hand together help to maintain this position longer enabling a later release and more power.

Moments before impact, the right hand will initiate the wrist release and begin the rotation of the club as it squares coming into impact. Again the right and left hands must work in unison to accomplish this; the left hand alone does not have enough power to do so… and the result will be an open clubface and a slice. This result is common to what you might see with someone who has a weak grip.

I would think, even as a lefty playing right-handed, the centrifugal force the golf swing creates is too much for one arm to handle (studies suggest the club weighs effectively over 120 pounds near impact). So minimizing the effects of your right hand is not something I would advise if you’re interested in creating a consistent and reliable golf swing.

Although I didn’t specifically answer your question Tom, I hope this provides you with a better understanding of the role of the right hand in the golf swing, and you can learn to work with it rather than minimize its effects. When considering your comment about hitting the ball better when you move the right hand into a weaker position – I can only see this happening if your hands aren’t playing an equal role in delivering the club to the ball. You may want to consider moving your left hand into a weaker position and your right into a stronger one – as this may balance them out.


The Golf Drill Guru

Photo by Courtney Cook on Unsplash


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  1. Every good golfer swings the club FROM his right hand on the forward swing. The left hand is merely a passenger. Try to drive the ball slightly to the right of your target, using your right hand only to swing the club.

  2. I’m a lefty playing from the right side also. Before, I used to drag a lot from the left in which I smother covered the ball. Now I use my right hand a lot and found out I get higher shots and my divots went slightly left now. It’s great to really feel your right side in the golf swing. It helps a ton!

  3. There are many on both sides of this. Many professionals, like Ernie Els and Vijay Singh, believe it’s the right hand that supplies the power, but the left hand and left thumb (if you are a righty) that roates the club face to square.

  4. For the average weekend golfer the top hand is the more important. While you may give up some power, you will still hit the ball far enough, and you will be far more accurate. Incorporating the right hand for additional power requires constant practice, which is what pros do since it is their job. The top hand allows you to take the club straight back and straight through more easily. The bottom hand will often lead to snatching the club to the inside requiring a redirection in the downswing. At the speed of the swing (even amateur level swings), it is very difficult to get the club back on line. It is generally an accident if the ball goes straight. The ultimate goal is a top hand take away and a top hand pull and bottom hand push through.

  5. I too am left handed like Tom ,playing right hand golf. This is a question which I too had and the answer does reinforce the fact that right hand is redundant and follow through is poor. The best for us would be to strengthen the right hand, practice to get muscle memory and synchronize the movement of both hands in downswing and follow through.

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