The Loop

Papwa's Grip

October 23, 2007

"Two articles in the November issue grabbed my attention," says reader Dan Farrar, who lives in Tennessee.

The first was the article about > Papwa Sewgolum and his "backward" (cross-handed) grip and how tremendously accurate he was within 100 yards of the pin.  The other article was > Breaking 100/90/80/70 again referring to using the "backwards" or cross-handed grip for chipping.  (Bobby Clampett on Breaking 100).


Having played golf for 40 years left-handed and using the cross-handed grip for my driver, fairway woods, irons and putter,  I will admit to having drawn some strange looks and comments from other golfers and even from motorists passing by the tee when I was hitting.  One such interested observer was a Mississippi Highway Patrolman who stopped his squad car and ran up the elevated tee by the highway, hand on his gun, to watch my cross-handed drive.  After my 230-yard straight shot, he left shaking his head.  He said he had never seen anything like that and he just wanted to watch.   My golfing partner says "you're both inside out and backwards!!!!!" >

I had an old boss, Dan, who had the chipping yips. It was painful to watch. He tried chipping with his eyes closed. He tried shipping left-handed, he went to short game schools, everything. But all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put his chipping together again. I think your tip--Papwa's and Bobby's, too--and that "wrong-handed" grip might have saved him.

We've got quite a few letters on the Papwa story. Some take Gary Player to task, as did a South African writer in our story, for not speaking out against the apartheid policies that in the end defeated Sewgolum. Here's an interesting 1966 Time Magazine story that quotes Player as saying:  "I play golf. I don't meddle in politics."

Thanks for the letter.

--Bob Carney

(Photo: Dom Furore)