An Edge at The Masters

February 1, 2016
Golf | PGA

In 6 of the last 13 years the Champion of The Masters at Augusta National has been a left handed player.

The company has included Mike Weir (2003), Phil Mickelson (2004, ’06, ’10) and Bubba Watson (2012, ’14).

 

When we consider that left handed golfers make up approximately 7% of the golfing population in the world*, lefties have done exceptionally well in April at Augusta.

Image 1 (Left hander) | Image 2 (Right Hander)

The dots in the above images represent where a ball has landed when hit with a 6 iron on TrackMan software. In the above images you will notice that these two players have a specific shot pattern. In order to to eliminate a variable, both of these players are scratch handicapped golfers. As you can see the left hander’s misses are short left and long right. Vice versa the right handed player’s misses are short right and long left.

 

Image 3 (Left Handed Friendly)**

(Image 3) represents 9 of the 18 green complexes at Augusta National. From my best judgement I would consider the left hander’s (Image 1) shot pattern to fit on the greens more effectively than the right hander’s (Image 2) shot pattern.

 

Image 4 (Right Handed Friendly)**

(Image 4) are the greens that I would consider the opposite, I believe that the right hander’s shot pattern would fit best on these greens at Augusta. The other five greens I have left out because they are neutral. They run straight up and down and do not favour either shot pattern. There are more than double the greens at Augusta National that favour the left handed golfer’s shot pattern.

 

 

Image 5

Why are our shot patterns like this? If you are a right handed golfer and you miss the green to the left this means that the club face is closed to the target line (in most cases). When the club face is closed the loft of the club is reduced, when the loft is reduced the ball will fly farther. The opposite can be said for when a right handed player misses a green right. The club face will be open to target line (in most cases), the club will have more loft and more loft makes the ball fly shorter.

In conclusion I believe that the shape of the green complexes at The Masters has been giving left handed golfers an edge on their approach shots. Hitting greens in regulation as we all know is a major factor in scoring well. Keep this equation in mind when thinking about how to score better SCORE = 95 – (2*GIR).

*http://www.pga.com/grandslam/2003/news_120103_lefty.html

**http://www.augusta.com/masters/coursetour

***http://thesandtrap.com/b/playing_tips/ball_flight_laws