published Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Who golfs: Local sales rep James Payne

James Payne has the backstroke of a chip when holding a driver right-handed.

But when he holds a left-handed driver, he winds up beyond level and rips drives a good distance.

“Lefty is my natural swing, but all my clubs are right-handed,” Payne said. “When I was little, and before I got clubs, and a pro looked at me and said, ‘Your head is steadier from the right side, so hit right-handed.’”

That worked OK for three years when he played for the Copper Basin High School team. During that time, he fell in love with the game and kept playing with limited success.

“I had a longer backswing at one point, but I got the shanks and I kept getting shorter and shorter with the backswing,” Payne said. “I can go farther back, but I hit it all over the place.”

He tested some left-handed drivers during Super Demo Day at Bear Trace at Harrison Bay earlier this month. It had been about year since he clutched a lefty club.

Smack — he crushed drives down the range.

“I’m contemplating getting a lefty driver today,” he said. “I putt lefty, so I finish holes lefty. Now I may start them lefty, too.”

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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