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"The Little Red Book" (and His Other Books) by Harvey Penick


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Yeah, it's a fun read with some solid advice. Definitely a good choice for people who really don't want to read any technical info at all or for people who tend to overthink every aspect of the swing and get locked up over the ball. His approach to instruction is one of simplicity..."swing the bucket", "turn like you're going to shake someone's hand", etc.

I enjoy the stories and recollections in the book more than any of the instruction.
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I've done A LOT of reading and Penick's books are by far my favorite. His simple examples and instruction just seem dead on for me.

I love his stories and what he's learned with all of his experience. Even all of his stories in the book have a "golf moral" if you will.

His books have completely changed the way I look at golf.
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One thing I always do, as recomended in The Little Red Book, is carry my putter in my left hand. It doesn't seem to be a big deal, but it's like when the Karate Kid had to "sanda floor". I like those types of lessons.

My favorite quote is maxim 22 - "Anyone slicing the ball has reached the top of his game. The harder he hits it, the more it will slice."
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I just finished reading this book two days ago. Overall a great read. Very entertaining as well as instructive.

I don't keep books after reading them, so if anyone out there wants my copy I'll sell it to you. $5.00 plus shipping if you want it! PM me if interested.
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  • 2 weeks later...
Great read with some golf tips.

Best Golf Tip: Chip with the lowest lofted club that will reach the green and get it rolling.

Most memorable " You are who you are, not what you do " I think that's in the little green book though, as reported by Tom Kite, who the quote was directed at, when he was 16 years old and a tad bit cocky according to Tommy himself.
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  • 3 weeks later...
I agree it was a good read and about the only thing I remember from it is "take dead aim". However, I'm sure there are more things learned from that book that have found there way into my swing to improve my game than I remember.
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  • 2 weeks later...
I'm reading it now, so far I have taken a lot from it. I think his simple view of things is what makes the book so enjoyable. What I'm really enjoying is the way the book is arranged, it literally feels as though you are reading excerpts from a note book.

I just finished reading the part where Harvey is quoting a conversation Tommy Armour had with a high handicapper. The high handicapper was asking Tommy how to put backspin on the ball. Tommy told him that if you hit the ball well, it will have backspin all on its own. Still the other golfer persisted, so Tommy asked him, "On your approach shot where does your ball typically land in front of the hole of behind it?" The golfer responded that he almost always hits the front of the green. Tommy then asks then what good would backspin do?

A simple concept, and a question that has been tabled on this forum a hundred times. Thats the kind of rationale that Harvey uses in this book. Simple, deliberate, and un-deniable.
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  • 2 months later...
I picked this book up the other day and it made an immediate impact on my game. I've been playing like crap for the last couple of months and went out this afternoon armed with a bit of Harvey's wisdom and was hitting the ball great. Possibly the best ball striking I've ever experienced. Definitely a book I recommend for someone who's been struggling or who wants a few tips to shave a stroke or two off their game. There's a lot of good advice in there and it's clearly written and easy to implement.
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Harvey Penick was a special and memorable person -- all who knew him must have benefitted in some way from his simple wisdoms. He was not overly caught up in the technicalities of the golf swing, but his insights were always helpful -- when he told you something, you desparately wanted to do as he said. I had not seen Harvey for many, many years, and he was becoming very frail, but perhaps one simple story will illustrate his uniqueness...

A day while visiting at the ACC in Austin, I was hitting balls on the range, and as was his routine, he came out in a golf cart (driven by a young man since Harvey was then beyond driving himself.) His eyesight was going. He was squinting and not recognizing me at all -- you could tell his eyes were dimmed with age. He was stooped and bent over. I hit another practice shot and then came his faint voice... he called me by name and asked, "Is that you?" Imagine, not recognizing a face, but recognizing someone's swing and then knowing who it was, even from long in the past -- that was the remarkable Harvey Penick. My swing was nothing special, but he knew then who it was. I will never forget that moment. He passed on not long after that day.
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  • 2 weeks later...
He was a true gentleman and a great teacher. Many of his lessons didn't involve any "physical" action(s). He might've had just a simple talk with someone or perhaps just saying a few simple words and it made them a better golfer/person.

"The Little Red Book" is by far one of my favorite books in my library.
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