Golf career[ edit ] Penick was born in Austin, Texas. He began his golf career as a caddie at the Austin Country Club at age eight. After , Penick continued teaching at the club. While Penick was a strong all-around teacher of the game, he was perhaps the most gifted instructor of the mental game who ever lived.
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More than sixty years ago, I began writing notes and observations in what I came to call my Little Red Book. My wife, Helen, could have read it, of course, but a lifetime spent living with a grown-up caddie like me provided Helen with all the information about golf that she cares to know. Tinsley was named to that post in , when I retired with the title of Head Professional Emeritus after holding the job for fifty years. With the knowledge in this little book to use as a reference, it would be easier for Tinsley to make a good living teaching golf no matter what happens when I am gone.
Tinsley is a wonderful teacher on his own and has added insights to this book over the years. But there is only one copy of the red Scribbletex notebook that I wrote in. I kept it locked in my briefcase. Most of my club members and the players who came to me for help heard about my Little Red Book as it slowly grew into what is still a slender volume considering that all the important truths I have learned about golf are written in its pages.
Many asked to read the book. What made my Little Red Book special was not that what was written in it had never been said before. It was that what it says about playing golf has stood the test of time.
But whether it is for beginners, medium players, experts or children, anything I say in my book has been tried and tested with Success. One morning last spring I was sitting in my golf cart under the trees on the grass near the veranda at Austin Country Club.
I was with my nurse, Penny, a patient young woman who drives us in my golf cart a few blocks from home to the club on days when I feel well enough for the journey. Tommy asks almost shyly, as if afraid I might not feel strong enough. His request makes my heart leap with joy. I spend nights staring at the ceiling, thinking of what I have seen Tommy doing in tournaments on television, and praying that he will come see me.
If Tommy wants, I will break my rule that I never visit the club on weekends, and will have Penny drive me to the putting green to meet with Tommy on Saturday and Sunday morning, as well as on Thursday and Friday. I know it exasperates Penny that I would rather watch Tommy putt than eat the lunch she has to force on me. Or I may be sitting in my cart in the shade enjoying the spring breeze and the rolling greenery of our beautiful golf course, with the blue water of Lake Austin sparkling below, as good and peaceful a place as I know on this earth, and the young touring pro Cindy Figg-Currier may stop and say hello and eventually work up the nerve to ask if I will look at her putting stroke.
Certainly I will. I get as much pleasure out of helping a rising young pro like Cindy as I do a celebrated hero like Tommy. Don Massengale of the Senior Tour had phoned me at home the night before for a long-distance putting lesson. Earlier my old friend Ben Crenshaw, the Masters champion who had grown up with Tommy Kite in the group of boys that I taught at the old Austin Country Club across town, dropped by our home for a visit and brought his wife and daughter to see Helen and me.
Ben is one of the greatest players of all time, a natural. Ben has his own course, designed by Ben and his partner, at the Barton Creek Country Club layout, a ten-minute drive away from us. It pleases me deeply when Ben drops by to sit on the couch or when he phones me from some tournament.
They are entered in a tournament, and the general has played golf only a few times. Can I teach him? In the living room? In half an hour? General Olds is a jolly good fellow, thick through the chest.
He was a football star at West Point. He has those big muscles that, as Bobby Jones said, can bend a bar but are no use in swinging a golf club. I fit the general with a strong grip and teach him a very short swing.
Just about waist high to waist high. This man is too muscle-bound to make a full swing, but he is strong enough to advance the ball decently with a short swing. When the member and the general leave, Helen and Penny scold me. I am wearing myself out, they say. They remind me that before Ben dropped by, a girl who is hoping to make the University of Texas team had come to talk to me about her progress, and I had asked questions for an hour.
But my mind is excited. My heart is thrilled. I have been teaching. Nothing has ever given me greater pleasure than teaching. I received as much joy from coaxing a first-time pupil, a woman from Paris, into hitting the ball into the air so that she could go back to France and play golf with her husband as I did from watching the development of all the fine players I have been lucky enough to know.
When one of my less talented pupils would, under my guidance, hit a first-class shot, I would say, "I hope that gives you as much pleasure as it does me. Every time I found something about the swing or the stance or the mental approach that proved to be consistently successful, I wrote it down in my Little Red Book.
I prefer to teach with images, parables and metaphors that plant in the mind the seeds of shotmaking. These, too, went into the notebook -- if they proved successful. Many professional writers inquired during my long career as a teacher if they might write a book for me on how to play golf.
Harvey Penick Quotes
Harvey Penick's Little Red Book: Lessons And Teachings From A Lifetime In Golf
Harvey Penick's Little Red Book
Harvey Penick's Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings From a Lifetime of Golf
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