Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book, Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf still stands as one of the most sold golf books of all time.
Filled with lessons, tips, and stories, this Little Red Book will take you through the thoughts of Harvey as well as his students. Individuals who contributed to this book and/or have had a direct relation with Harvey include Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, MIckey Wright, Kathy Whitworth, Betsy Rawls, Mary Lena Faulk, Dave Marr, and Byron Nelson.
Probably one of the most memorable Masters Tournament wins ever was when Ben Crenshaw won the 1995 Masters with Harvey Penick on his shoulder. You may remember Ben openly crying after sinking the final putt with his face buried in his hands.
After reading this book, the one phrase that has always stuck with me was this
Take Dead Aim
I have not always practiced this phrase when playing golf myself, but its a great phase to use. Whenever you setup to a shot. Take DEAD AIM at your target. I am not talking about a row of mowed grass, or a tree in the background. Pick out a spot in that row or a limb on that tree. That is what TAKING DEAD AIM means.
In all honesty, it works. If you put a conscious effort into focusing on where you want to hit the ball. 9 times out of 10, you are at least going to put a better swing on it. You might not hit the target, but your effort will contain more quality then if you just setup and hit the ball.
Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book actually stems from a real Red Book he used to always carry with him, even in his wheelchair. Players would always ask to see it, and he always turned them down, even players like Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw.
What I liked about reading this book is the way Harvey would teach. From the text, Harvey would rather walk away from a lesson if he had nothing good to say. He felt the swing and the mind were so fragile that unless there is something positive to say, it wasn’t worth saying.
He also felt the swing was very simple and would teach it that way. He never understood why some tour players get so technical with a swing when getting the clubhead (point A) to the ball (point B) was relatively easy.
I can say for myself, I have always been technical, but I am sure if I had Harvey as a teacher, I would treat the game and think about it differently then I do now.
This is a great book and I highly recommend buying it. You can buy it off Amazon very cheap.