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The Clue of the Left-Handed Golf Club
#1  Pulpmeister 09-30-2015, 03:04 AM
I've recently re-read two detective short stories from the thirties that coincidentally make use of "the clue of the left handed golf clubs". One is by Agatha Christie, the other by "Sapper" in his 'Ask for Ronald Standish" collection.

The vital clue that both Standish and Poirot seize on is that someone who purports to be right handed owns left-handed golf-clubs, and therefore something is wrong. Now, while I doubt that Poirot could tell a left-handed golf club on sight, not being a man ever likely to play golf, there is no doubt that gentleman and sportsman Standish could.

There is only one catch.

A surprisingly large number of people are not completely right-handed or left handed.

I know because I am one of them. I am right-handed exclusively in everything except aforesaid golf, (and other two-handed stick-and-ball games such as cricket, baseball and also probably hockey, which I've never played.). Even in tennis, a certain ambiguity creeps in. I can't backhand with my right hand alone, I have to use both hands, and when I do its the same basic grip as a bat, or golf club.

I don't know what proportion of the populace shares this curious division of handedness, but I know I'm no orphan.

So if you are writing a whodunit, don't use the clue of the left-handed golf club.
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#2  gmw 09-30-2015, 08:08 AM
I don't plan on it, I can barely recognise a golf club. On the subject of handedness, I am ostensibly right-handed but use some tools either backwards (left-handed) or equally badly either way.

Generally I see plot points like left-handed golf clubs in the same light as most of the Sherlock Holmes' style observations. They're cute, but in any realistic sense all they can be is reason to look deeper into some aspect. They don't actually hold much, if any, credibility on their own. (I do enjoy the Sherlock Holmes stories, they're fun. But dog hair on the trousers or dirt on the fingernails? Yeah, right. Hang him! he's obviously the killer.)

I mostly give Sherlock and Poirot a bye on this sort of stuff by imagining that there were a dozen other things that led to the same conclusion, but they only bothered to mention the most obvious because full details would have been too boring to recite in the book. (Sounds logical to me .)
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#3  eschwartz 09-30-2015, 08:40 AM
It's things like this that make me prefer Poirot to Holmes as a general rule.
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#4  Cinisajoy 09-30-2015, 04:49 PM
Quote Pulpmeister
I've recently re-read two detective short stories from the thirties that coincidentally make use of "the clue of the left handed golf clubs". One is by Agatha Christie, the other by "Sapper" in his 'Ask for Ronald Standish" collection.

The vital clue that both Standish and Poirot seize on is that someone who purports to be right handed owns left-handed golf-clubs, and therefore something is wrong. Now, while I doubt that Poirot could tell a left-handed golf club on sight, not being a man ever likely to play golf, there is no doubt that gentleman and sportsman Standish could.

There is only one catch.

A surprisingly large number of people are not completely right-handed or left handed.

I know because I am one of them. I am right-handed exclusively in everything except aforesaid golf, (and other two-handed stick-and-ball games such as cricket, baseball and also probably hockey, which I've never played.). Even in tennis, a certain ambiguity creeps in. I can't backhand with my right hand alone, I have to use both hands, and when I do its the same basic grip as a bat, or golf club.

I don't know what proportion of the populace shares this curious division of handedness, but I know I'm no orphan.

So if you are writing a whodunit, don't use the clue of the left-handed golf club.
I know 2 lefties and one ambidextrous can use either hand equally. The only thing I can do left handed is run a Ryobi corded drill/screwdriver.
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#5  Bilbo1967 09-30-2015, 04:57 PM
I think that, famously, the very successful professional golfer Phil Mickelson plays golf left handed but is otherwise right handed.
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#6  HarryT 10-11-2015, 05:58 AM
I am very, very left-handed. I hardly use my right hand for anything.
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#7  gmw 10-11-2015, 06:52 AM
Quote HarryT
I am very, very left-handed. I hardly use my right hand for anything.
So now we know who dunnit!
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#8  Dr. Drib 10-11-2015, 07:11 AM
I'm left-handed, too.

I can remember the hell I went through in school, living in a right-handed world.

Strangely enough, I bat right-handed and throw a ball right-handed.
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#9  Pulpmeister 02-16-2020, 08:05 AM
Bump....

Just watched the "Poirot" TV episode of the story, and you can imagine I watched like a hawk when the golf clubs in question were disclosed in the closet; and yes, the props manager got it right, they were left-handed clubs. I just imagined myself pulling a club from the golf bag and addressing a ball.
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#10  dwig 02-16-2020, 10:19 AM
Quote Cinisajoy
...and one ambidextrous ...
A somewhat slanderous term as is means "both right", reinforcing the notion that left is sinister .

I'm dominantly left-handed though I play baseball in what is considered right-handed. As an youngster, I found that using my dominant and more skilled left hand to catch a ball, and thus avoid missing the catch being hit by ball, the most logical approach. Also, batting "right-handed" let my good left arm to the major work and my clumsy dolt of a right just needed to tag along. My tennis playing was a mess, mixing left and right for both forehand and backhand shots at times.

In the mysteries that I read, I find the evidence that a person was right or left handed is often somewhat less of a certainty than the "detective" seems to insist, especially in older works from times when most left-handed children were forced to adopt right-handed methods, but I let is slide.
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