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Steve Johnston, a PGA professional, has decided to become a beginner again, in the game he teaches for a living.

The Peebles-based pro, who is a long-time member of the bunkered tuition panel, has played right-handed all his life, until this summer, when he decided to invest in a set of left-handed clubs.

That, he says, has left him exhausted after rounds. He’s struggled not to lose balls and keep triple bogeys off the card, and gets nervous while playing, in case someone happens to be watching him.

You’re probably thinking; ‘why on earth would he want to do that?’ 

In a game that’s hard enough, why would a pro want to start all over again, playing the wrong way around?

It’s a fair question, but Johnston, who is Scotland’s no.1 golf YouTuber, has several reasons for putting the right-handed clubs away and starting from scratch.

“I coach so much golf, and it’s easy for me to get into certain positions. But it can be tough to understand for beginners,” he explained.

“This has given me a lot of empathy with them.”

It’s not that he didn’t have empathy with beginner golfers before, but when you’re an accomplished player, it can be tough to remember what it’s like to really be a novice.

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“It’s always been highlighted to me, but now I really understand that for a beginner golfer, it’s very strange, a very hard game to pick up.

“You might get a pro who is saying just do this, but that’s not always achievable, and this has highlighted that to me.

“I never get frustrated when I’m coaching a new player, but I definitely take more time now to explain things. I’ve got this idea that if you double exaggerate, you’re going to get there quicker, and that’s been highlighted to me as well.”

While he games stiff shafted clubs in his right-handed set, that is far from the case in the lefty set. 

A trip to golfclubs4cash in Edinburgh yielded new sticks that wouldn’t quite meet his usual specifications. Senior flex graphite shafts, along with a driver at 13-degrees of loft, are all in play to help him get the ball in the air with a swing speed 25 miles-per-hour slower than his conventional action.

The long-term goal for his left-handed career, he says, is to get a handicap. While he is still a professional no matter which side of the ball he stands, he will be able to keep an index and play unofficially in club competitions as a marker. 

Once he has his handicap, the goal is the same as any amateur, to get his index down as far as possible.


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Lewis Fraser As bunkered’s Performance Editor, Lewis oversees the content that’s designed to make you a better player. From the latest gear to tuition, nutrition, strategy and more, he’s the man. A graduate of the University of Stirling, Lewis joined bunkered in 2021. Formerly a caddie at Castle Stuart Golf Links, he is a member of Bathgate Golf Club where he plays off four.

Performance Editor

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