Cross-Dominance In A Golf Swing

One of the reasons I’m excited about my swing research this season is that I am confident (until proof either way) that I’ve solved my cross-dominance issue.

In fact, I am fairly certain (because I’ve always been cross-dominant) that I’ve actually never performed a proper golf swing, mechanically.

So what is cross-dominance, exactly?  If you are interested in such things, and you perhaps should be even if you’re not a cross-dominant person (say you’re right-handed and swing a club right-handed), strap yourself in and let’s do this:

It’s not ambidexterity, which means you can perform tasks equally with either hand or foot.

Cross-dominance is when you perform tasks with different hands and sides, which I’ve done all my life.

I’ve actually isolated the properties of my cross-dominance as well:

  • I’m left-handed when it comes to fine motor skills, which means I would slice a loaf of bread with the knife in my left hand, I eat with my left hand, thread a needle with my left hand, write or draw with my left hand, draw back an arrow or pull a trigger with my left hand, hammer a nail or peg with my left hand and I sight targets with my left eye,
  • I’m right-handed with gross motor actions, which means I would punch with my right hand, kick with my right foot, shoot a basketball or throw a ball, spear, dart or javelin with my right hand, I swing right-handed whether it be an axe, sledge-hammer, golf club, baseball/cricket bat or hockey stick.

Pretty simple, isn’t it?

In fact, there are only a couple of things I can do equally with either hand, like catch an object or cut a piece of meat, likely because I played baseball (which meant catching with my left glove hand) and if you put me in a hockey net, I’d still stick-handle and shoot right-handed and I’d wear the goaltender’s catching mitt on my right hand, no problem.

I eat left-handed, which means I don’t switch hands to cut and eat a steak.  I just cut the meat with the knife in my right hand.

Now that we’ve exhausted that definition, how does cross-dominance cause a problem in a golf swing?

Simply, because for two reasons in my case – I have likely defined the golf swing unconsciously in my mind as a fine motor action and therefore was accustomed to swinging right-handed (gross motor action) but with my left arm and hand attempting to control the action.

Another reason, which is ridiculous in hindsight – I began my swing research looking at Moe Norman and made the fatal mistake of listening to anything the man had to say about the golf swing, because I began with the assumption he had the perfect swing.

In his video “Pipeline Moe,” I believe, Moe declared that he swung with his left arm and hand only, and that the right hand just went along for the ride.

Fatal. Error.

It would have been perfectly natural for me, being a lefty when it comes to half of what I do, to say, “Perfect, swing with the left arm!” and the damage is still being undone 17 years after I watched that video.

Add to this natural inclination and the bad decision to do it intentionally (I don’t recall if I did so before hearing what Moe had to say), I played a lot of baseball before ever picking up a golf club and neither of the two instructors I had ever told me anything about square-shouldered impact, swing plane or club path.

That meant I was liable to swing over the top and impact the ball with open shoulders, made easier by the fact I have a slight open-left twist in my shoulders when standing naturally due to my scoliosis.

Now, imagine you were never told at any time by either of the two instructors you paid good money for lessons about path, planes or your OTT move.

One of them also holds a kinesiology degree – and now you know why, in addition to the rubbish I see on television and online, I hold the modern golf instruction and kinesiology industry in such contempt.

This is becoming a ponderous posting to do in one go, so I will end it here, having discussed the issue of cross-dominance and my reason for it – the next post will discuss how it could be your problem even if you’re not a cross-dominant person.

4 thoughts on “Cross-Dominance In A Golf Swing

  1. peterallenby2013

    I too, am cross-dominant! Throw a ball with my left hand, write with my left hand, yet my dominant leg for kicking a ball is right, natural side to swing a golf club – right – hockey shot – right. My youngest boy (14) is a soccer-mad lad and his dominant foot is left, everything else is right – Looking forward to your further thoughts about our shared “condition”!

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      Hi Peter – it’s probably a very common thing that most people don’t notice except for those to whom it applies. The body is wonderful and frustrating, is it not? DJ

      1. peterallenby2013

        way back when in pre-school a teacher thought being left-handed would cause me problems in school (???!!) I complained to my Mom and dad that I had to stay inside at recess and practice writing circles and lines and letters with my right hand. My Dad put a quick stop to that nonsense. But from then on, I knew about ‘handedness” – And yes, I never really thought about it all that much until I came across Mike Austin’s teachings – One of the similes many teaching that method used was to think of your right hand throwing the club in the downswing as if you were “skipping a rock across a pond surface”. That idea was tough for me to assimilate since my natural handedness was NOT my right hand and thus throwing or skipping with my right hand was simply weird to feel!

        1. DJ Watts Post author

          Good on your dad, Peter. My old man told us tales about teachers flogging students in the 50’s for being left-handed, what a joke.

          I didn’t suffer anything being left-handed other than finding it awkward having to shoot a bolt-action rifle or semi-auto which have the bolt or slide on the right side, forcing me to use my supporting hand rather than shooting hand to re-load. Small mercies! 🙂

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