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.
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.