Have you ever read Harvey Penick's Little Red Book? In my opinion, it's a masterpiece. If you don't mind, I'm going to spend the rest of this article gushing about it. Hopefully, by the end, you'll want to check it out for yourself!
There's not much in the golf world that really wows me.
I mean, I'm not enamored with the big-name OEMs. Not when I know about smaller-market brands that are just as good.
I'm not big on the swing du jours out there. Stuff about D-plane, A-swings, Stack & Tilt... it's nice for those that are into it, but do you have the kind of time to make that stuff work?
I don't. I have a wife, kids, and this business I'm trying to make successful. Not to mention having a real life, to boot. I bet you have some of that same kind of stuff going on in your life, too, right?
That's what initially attracted me to The Little Red Book!
The Little Red Book of Simplicity
Harvey Penick considers himself a simple caddy... but he's really so much more.
He's damn near Yoda.
They kinda look alike, don't they?
At any rate, they both have one thing in common: incredible wisdom in an unlikely form.
Now, I've talked a little bit about The Little Red Book before, but I kind of want to point out some bigger ideas here. Yes, I think they'll help you play better, but maybe it'll also push you into buying the book for yourself, as well!
My take from the older article:
Seriously, this book appears to be just thoughts and stories from an old caddy, but it’s actually chock-full of useful information. I love how it gives you information, something you might just give passing thought to, but then out of the blue you think “damn… that’s what he was talking about!”.
You can buy it on Amazon!
Musings from an old caddy
Seriously, that's what he calls himself. But he's so much more.
One of the things that stood out to me was his take on how to practice without a ball.
It was a simple drill; instead of hitting balls, you try to clip the heads off of dandelions. I did modify this, though, by trying to make my divot come after the dandelion.
From a swing thought, it just works; you don't have a ball to hit, but you still have something to focus on. Something to keep yourself from mindlessly swinging a golf club. It's pretty brilliant, I think.
And, you know, it keeps the yard looking fairly decent when you're between mowings, so there's that, too...
For the beginners
This might not be great for the "purists" out there, but I don't really care.
If you're a beginner, Penick suggests teeing up every shot, except when you're putting.
The thought process is simple; you want to give yourself the best chance to hit the ball. Putting the ball on a tee is always going to give you the perfect lie, so why not?
In the beginning, it isn't about what's "pure"; it's about developing confidence. About seeing that ball fly down the fairway nice and true. Those are the types of shots that keep you coming back, so why not try to get the most you can?
As your skill improves, remove the tee. Pretty simple, really.
Why You Need a Little Red Book, Yourself
Harvey Penick's penultimate book is a good read, to be sure. He talks about his time with Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw. It's a nice bit of "insider info" into pros, and a history lesson, as well.
But it's the nuggets of information that make the book stand out. He doesn't bash you over the head with swing thoughts and theories. It's simple, practical, and useful. Some of it, you don't even realize you're being taught until after you've read the chapter!