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Harvey Penick's Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings From a Lifetime of Golf

4.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,692 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
THE CLASSIC BOOK OF GOLF WISDOM FROM THE GAME'S GREATEST TEACHER The "Little Red Book" has become required reading for all players and fans of the game of golf, from beginners to seasoned pros. The legendary Harvey Penick, who began his golfing career as a caddie in Austria, Texas, at the age of eight, worked with an amazing array of champions over the course of nearly a c ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published May 19th 1999 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1992)
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My First Fun Golf Steps by Anna OthitisBen Hogan's Five Lessons by Ben HoganHarvey Penick's Little Red Book by Harvey PenickGolf Mind Play;outsmarting Your Brain to Play Your Best Golf by Tracy TresidderThe Match by Mark Frost
Great golf books
3rd out of 108 books — 55 voters
Ben Hogan's Five Lessons by Ben HoganGolf Mind Play;outsmarting Your Brain to Play Your Best Golf by Tracy TresidderDave Pelz's Short Game Bible by Dave PelzThe Plane Truth for Golfers by Jim HardyThe Laws of the Golf Swing by Mike Adams
Best Golf Instruction Books
24th out of 58 books — 25 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,404)
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Anecdotes and advice from a golf pro for days of yore.
The game of golf has changed since then, and he notes it near the end of the book when he covers trick shots. He laments a bit that the game has become more power biased.

Some interesting notes (very basic).
- Practice your swing with a 7 iron.
- most time is spent with irons and putting. Don't over practice
on a driver.
- Relax and find what works for you. there is no perfect swing/stance, etc
that works for everyone. It's your perfect swing you
Feb 13, 2016 Bob rated it liked it
Shelves: sports
Penick celebrates common sense and civility -- what is more needed in our world?
For such a short book there is a surprising amount of interesting historical trivia, too. Bobby Jones let his clubs rust to allow greater spin, Betsy Rawls was a Phi Beta Kappa physics student at UT, and Darrel Royal enjoyed golf and was a fine player. His good nature shines from every page:
"The tournament started the next morning and Sandra [Palmer] was getting the jitters wondering if she should could putt gree
Ray Kelly
Feb 19, 2015 Ray Kelly rated it it was amazing
Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book is probably the greatest instructional book of all time. I first read it becuase of the suggestions of my first real golf teacher, and good friend, Arkansas's Bill Brown, a student of Harvey Penick. It has become essential reading for me and I suggest it should be for golfers of any age and ability. The legendary Harvey Penick began his golfing career as a caddie in Austin, Texas, at the age of eight, and over the course of a lengthy career in golf he taught an am ...more
Kyle Begley
Nov 15, 2014 Kyle Begley rated it it was amazing
Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book is filled with the great stories of legendary golf teacher Harvey Penick. Penick has worked with a great deal of pro golfers and helped get them to the highest point in their careers. My little Red Book is a book that helps the beginner or even the seasoned pro golfer with physical and psychological tips for the game. From learning tips on a bunker shot, or what to do if you arrive to the course late and have a short amount of time to warm up, Penick takes you on ...more
Brad Lyerla
Nov 14, 2014 Brad Lyerla rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What a comfort this little book is for a golfer! Simple and wise, Penick makes golf sensible for expert and hacker alike. It is a must read for all golfers.

A key take away for me is that Penick instructs us to "take dead aim." Of course. And yet, I bet the vast majority of shots I hit in a round are just approximations. No more. I resolve to take dead aim. That now is my mantra.
Ben Margraves
Jul 11, 2012 Ben Margraves rated it really liked it
This book was released while I was in high school in the 90's. I was a golfer and it consumed my life most of the time. This book was like my bible. I read this book to improve my game by taking notes from it and writing them on my hats, bags, scorecards and anything else I could imagine. The lessons in this book were not only applied o golf but to life as well.
Apr 03, 2016 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me by my father-in-law and it just goes to show how well he has gotten to know me that he would think I would enjoy this book - I loved it! I didn't really know anything about the author or most of the golfer's he mentions in the book but his teaching principles, as they apply to golf, education, and life in general, were pretty much right up my alley. The snippets in this book resonated for their application to my work, my relationships and, when I have the time and ...more
Apr 16, 2016 Jared rated it really liked it
I saw a lot of very positive reviews on this book so I finally picked up a copy. The only other golf book that I have read was Ben Hogan's five fundamentals book. I much preferred Ben Hogan's book. Both of these books are basically exactly what they advertise though. Hogan's book is about the fundamentals of golf, this book is largely advertised as a great golf instructors folksy ponderings on golf. For a beginner golfer like me I felt that Hogan's book was much more helpful.

This is a good book
Jan 11, 2011 Haydon rated it it was amazing
The little red book by Harvey Penick is one of the best golf books I have ever read in my life time this book teaches you great and new skills to use in golf. If you are a golf fanatic this is your book but it is also a great book for beginners in golf. I have gotten very helpful hints and strategy on how to play golf from this book in fact my game has gotten alto better. This book has changed my game I recommend this book for everyone that plays golf I don’t care how well you play or how much y ...more
Christian Clarke
Aug 09, 2010 Christian Clarke rated it it was amazing
Shelves: golf
I confess: I've lost myself to golf addiction. Practicing, playing, watching youtube clips of past golf stars, perusing Golf magazines, and, finally, stocking up on golf-books. I now think more about golf than sex.

In the Canon of golf-related texts there are but few that I'm aware of, such as Ben Hogan's technical treatise on the fundamentals of the no-hook swing and Jack Nicklaus's Golf My Way. I've read Hogan's, but not Jack's, although I've seen excerpts of the video online. In fact, the onl
Aug 24, 2015 Soms rated it it was amazing
Harvey Penick's Little Red Book - it's a great book as it has taught me many lessons about the challenging game of golf. I always went to this book when I was bored, and had nothing to do. I would recommend this book to anyone who plays the game of golf, and is looking to improve their game. This book had great details and really helped me with my game, and I'm sure it will help you too.
Brendan Hall
Jun 14, 2015 Brendan Hall rated it really liked it
A helpful guide to golf. Some essential tips which helped me improve my strategies and overall game (although I am far from being "good" by any means of evaluation). Helpful philosophy for practicing putting and one's short game as a large majority of the game is made up by these shots. Highly recommend this book to those interested in improving their golf game.
Adam Lund
Sep 29, 2014 Adam Lund rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recreation, sports
The game of golf has changed, but people haven't. What makes this book a pleasure to read are the stories Harvey tells about the great players he knew and coached over the years and the relationships he built with so many. There is helpful instruction, but pay attention, it's all via the written word.
Jan 14, 2016 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simple. Classic. Timeless. Sensible wisdom for golfers of all skill levels. Born from the real life experience of teaching professional and amateur golfers alike, Penick has a way of seeing through the fog of golf instruction and cutting to the quick. Highly recommend!
Jul 20, 2015 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1st read in April 1993. Birthday gift.
2nd read July 19, 2015

Saw it mentioned again in July 2015, so I pulled it off the shelf. The good news is that many of the tips are timeless. The bad news is that, even at my age, Mr. Penick refers to golfers I only vaguely recall.
Chris Prine jr.
Jan 14, 2016 Chris Prine jr. rated it it was amazing
How can golf not grab ahold of anybody's life and not make them a better person for it, great read, My only disappointment is that I am not on a driving range or golf course right now.

"... Golf and life are similar. There's nothing guaranteed to be fair in either golf or life, and we shouldn't expect it to be different. You must accept your disappointments and triumphs equally." (Harvey)
Robb Coulter
Dec 19, 2015 Robb Coulter rated it really liked it
Harvey Penick is one of golfs greatest teachers and was an inspiration to Ben Crenshaw one of the greatest golfers of all time. This book is filled with enjoyable comments, tips and stories about golf and the people in it.
Julie Cannon
Jan 26, 2015 Julie Cannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great read

Really enjoyed reading this book, the most interesting book I have ever had.
Recommend to any level of golfer or teacher.
Heard about Harvey Penick's books from Martin Hall of the golf channel.
Cedric Hendrix
Aug 13, 2012 Cedric Hendrix rated it it was amazing
Harvey Penick was a very wise man. When reading this book, it doesn't take long to see why so many of his charges were drawn to his homespun, folksy wisdom. While some of the material is, admittedly, a little dated, there is still more than enough here to improve the game and mindset of anyone that plays golf. I can only imagine what Harvey's wisdom would do for Tiger Woods these days.

The most important thing I learned from Harvey Penick is simple: take the game seriously, but not yourself. You
Charles Balsamico
I love the simplicity behind his instruction and how his care for others, and his care for the game, jumps off the pages thru countless personal stories with all the legends of the game. Take dead aim!
Michael Vincent
Aug 14, 2014 Michael Vincent rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, sports
Nice book of a variety of sayings and helps about golf. An easy format to read with mostly short thoughts, quips and stories. Tells some of the history of golf, especially in Texas.
Feb 17, 2016 Korey rated it really liked it
Short read with actionable advice focused on the beginner to mid-level golfer. Good storytelling with some life advice and humor mixed in.
Tara Choate
May 05, 2015 Tara Choate rated it it was ok
I guess you'd have to be a little more serious about golf than I am to really delve into this. A few amusing stories with a lot of text about golfing. Okay, but I just wasn't interested.
Mar 15, 2016 Stephen rated it it was amazing
Just loved it, a lot of great anecdotes.
Lar Mill
May 26, 2015 Lar Mill rated it it was amazing
Top notch timeless instruction.
Dan Mansfield
Jun 16, 2013 Dan Mansfield rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this book several times over, and have given copies to friends as gifts. It is a timeless book, with great advice on how to approach the mental and—to a lesser extent—physical aspects of the game. I will never get tired of reading this book. It focuses mainly on how to approach the game philosophically, but also mixes in some pointers on how to swing a golf club properly, but without getting too technical. This book makes me truly appreciate what a wonderful thing it is to play golf, n ...more
Jun 07, 2008 Allan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Golfers
This delightful book captivated me back when I was actively attacking golf. Perhaps the best thing about it? You really don't have to know much about golf to enjoy these life lessons by Mr. Penick. But if you remember Ben Crenshaw's win at the Masters Tournament in 1995, a week after Mr. Penick's death - how he dropped to his knees, weeping, as his last putt went in, you understand how much his mmentor's life and teachings affected Mr. Crenshaw.

I was given this book by my wife shortly after that
Sean O'Neill
Apr 15, 2008 Sean O'Neill rated it it was amazing
Great book of VERY short stories about golf.
Penick was a famous golf professional/instructor in Austin, Texas and this book is filled with little stories and lessons that he wrote down and collected throughout his life.
He taught and coached golf for several players in Texas and at the University of Texas who eventually became stars on the PGA tour.
Great little book, that my uncle (a golf fanatic)and many other golfers call "the bible".
If you're even remotely interested in golf you have to read t
Jul 09, 2015 Tom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable collection of Harvey Penick's life and golf observations. While I cannot say that this book will make you a better golfer, it might help make you a little bit of a wiser person. Even though he does make a good point on why you should practice your short game.

Overall, an easy and enjoyable read. The way the book is laid out, it is easy to pick up and put down. If you are looking for a bathroom reader (no offense to the author), and are a golf nut, then look no further.
Matt Boesch
Jan 17, 2014 Matt Boesch rated it it was amazing
A great book from a bygone era of golf that still has so much relevance for today. If one can apply half of what is contained in this book he/she would become a well above average golfer.
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“The cup is only one inch wide for a putt that is struck too hard. The cup is four inches wide for a ball that dies at the hole.” 0 likes
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