Play Your Hand

When I was 13 I wrote a letter to golf legend Jack Nicklaus. I was a left-handed golfer with big dreams, what he wrote back changed my life forever.
Posted on 
May 5, 2020
Minute Read

When I was 13 I wrote a letter to golf legend Jack Nicklaus. I was a left-handed golfer with big dreams, what he wrote back changed my life forever.

When I was 13 years old, I was a left-handed golfer who aspired to be a professional golfer after seeing my first Canadian open. I wrote to my favorite pro golfer Jack Nicklaus and asked him if I should switch to being right-handed.

To me, it seemed that all the best players are right-handed—which they were. There were only a few PGA tour players that were left-handed and only one major champion, which was before my time, Bob Charles. 

Lefties make up 10 to 12 percent of the population. In the golfing world, left-handed golfers make up about 5 to 7 percent of the North American market.

I received this great letter back from Jack saying, “no, I believe you should stick to your natural swing.—stay lefthanded. The fundamentals apply to both sides of the ball, left and right-handed and good luck in your dreams.”

I will never forget reading that letter over and over again. He gave me two things that day. One, the permission to go after this aspiration exactly as I am. 

He reminded me that there’s no perfect way to look or be, I just had to do the work. 

Two, he taught me an important lesson about the excuses that come up so naturally when attempting to do something greater than you. 

In life, there will always be objections and doubt either from within or someone else telling you that it’s beyond your abilities. 

There will always be a perception or person that makes you feel that you can't do whatever “it” is for you. Overpowering those objections are the start of developing a mindset that will bring you success.

Abilities can be learned, a mindset is made by you and for you.

There hasn't been a woman president yet, but that barrier is going to break down at some point. Whatever the perception, you can put it aside and acquire the skill set you need to make any barrier irrelevant. 

At age 13, my hero, Jack Nicholas gave me that conviction to stick with it. He made it okay for me to be myself. I was a left-handed golfer, a smaller guy didn't hit the ball far, and that was okay.

I want to pass this reminder onto you. Wherever you’re at in your journey, remember that being yourself is your greatest superpower. Those differences or obstacles we struggle to accept in our lives most of the time end up being the grit that gets us places we’d never have imagined in the first place.

We wield an innate power when we’re able to own who we are. To uncover the gifts we’ve been given means owning the bodies, quirks, and eccentricities that come with it first.

Don’t let a small thing like being leftie define your game. I share my story as a reminder that there is no perfect way to make your dreams a reality, there’s just one way: show up as yourself and get started.

Mike Weir

Mike Weir is a Canadian professional golfer who plays on the PGA Tour. In just over a decade, Weir has managed to become one of the greatest professional golfers ever to come out of Canada. He became only the second left-handed golfer to win any of the four majors In 2000, he became the first Canadian to play in the President’s Cup, where he led the international team with a 3-2-0 record.