Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Good Old Harvey

Twenty years ago I fell in love with golf. I remember reading every book or magazine I could get my hands on. I wanted to read about every theory of the golf swing. I read books about the short game. I read Arnold Palmer Complete Book Of Putting. 
It eventually got to the point were it was information overload. I was confusing myself reading about so many theories about the golf swing.
I then came across Harvey Penick's Little Red Book. I remember thinking in my twenty-one year old mind, "What does this old guy know about the golf swing?"
Turned out he probably had forgotten more golf than I remembered. He had been around golf since 1913 as an eight year old caddy. Even at his advanced age in his 80's, he still considered himself a caddy still studying golf. 
I bought the book for $20. Pretty pricy for a small golf book. But his tips were so simple. I read the book in a few days. I read it again. I loved it. 
I remember thinking I wasted so much time and money reading all the golf books whose theories were too complicated to apply. 
The Little Red Book became my golf Bible. 
I then got in a money pinch. I needed cash fast. So I gathered all the golf books I spent hundreds of dollars on and went to a used book store. I remember including The Little Red Book in the pile. I was thinking I would get $50 to $75 for my books. I got $24. Even back in 1996 that wasn't very much. But I was desperate and I took it. My eventual love of golf went out the door.
Forward to present day 2013. Seventeen years have passed. I got to thinking of Harvey and his Little Red Book. I had forgotten most of the lessons. So I went to and bought a copy. When the book came in the mail, it brought back so many good memories. I remembered most of the stories Mr. Penick wrote. I appreciated them more in my forty-one year old mind. 
I have eventually bought the follow up books, If You Play Golf, Your My Friend (aka The Little Green Book) and The Game of a Lifetime (The Little Blue Book). 
Reading the books made me wish I could have met Mr. Penick and gotten a lesson from him. Good old Harvey died a week before my twenty-third birthday in 1995. A week later Ben Crenshaw, a pupil of Mr. Penick won The Masters. I still get goose bumps when I see replays of Ben Crenshaw's emotional victory. After his sinking the winning putt, he dropped to his knees and cried. Then he dedicated the win to Mr. Penick. 
I would love to see a biopic or a documentary made of Mr. Harvey Penick. I would be first in line to see it. But for now, I'll just have to re-read his books again and again. 

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