Harvey Penick's Little Red Book

My notes and interpretations from this book:

"Lessons are not to take the place of practice but to make practice worthwhile."

Hand Position

  • place hands towards inside of left thigh
  • driver: place at zipper


  • Left thumb a little bit rotated clockwise to the shaft (1 or 1:30)

Grip Pressure

  • as light as possible without loosing control of club


  • Main value is that it prepares you and gets adrenaline flowing
  • Do not waggle more than twice


  • Hole them all

Right Elbow

  • Shall come back to your side on the downswing, not on the backswing

Take Dead Aim

  • "Once you address the golf ball, hitting it has to be the most important thing in your life at that moment. Shut out all thoughts other than picking out a target and taking dead aim at it."

Short Game

The higher your score, the faster you can lower it --- with the short game

Emerson Quote

"Thinking is the hardest work in the world, that's why so few of us do it."

Practice Swing

  • Make it a point to aim at something


Take your stance, and hold a clubshaft along the front of your thighs. Where the club points, is where you are aimed


  • Don't relax, feel at ease

Head and Ball

  • In order to have your head behind the ball at impact, it has to be behind it before you swing

Five Ways to Stop Casting

  • Hit the ball on the toe of the club for a little while
  • Two balls on the ground (two inches apart) hit the inside one
  • Shaft foot off of ground in front, swing under it
  • Hit a crazy big hoook
  • Slow motion drill
    • Swing very slow to top of backswing
    • While looking at the ball or the representation of the ball
    • At top of backswing, replace left heel solidly on the ground
    • At same time bring your right elbow in close to your body (very, very slowly)
    • Then stop a moment and hold it and feel it
    • Now start from the hold and do it again --- to the top
    • After four reps, swing a complete swing in slow motion --- into a high finish with the elbows out front and your head coming up to watch the perfect shot

Impact tape

Nope - use talcum powder

Interesting Swing Thought

Let the right hip take the club back, and the left hip bring the club forward.

Also, Try holding your right shoulder back as long as possible to give your left side a chance to get through

Also, let the hands start slightly before the head of the club on the backswing

Magic Move

To start your downswing, let your weight shift to your left foot while bringing your right elbow back down to your body

Warming up in a Hurry

Hit chip shots


  • Keep your hands ahead or even with the clubhead on the follow-through
  • Grip your club close down to the steel
  • Flex your knees so you can get down to it
  • Keep the club near to you
  • Weight more on left foot
  • Loosen your elbows
  • Back swing and follow through same length


  • 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.

Chip or Pitch

Always chip the ball if:

  1. The lie is poor.
  2. The green is hard
  3. You have a downhill lie
  4. The wind has an influence on the shot.
  5. You are under stress.

Probably pitch if:

  1. The lie is good.
  2. You have an uphill lie.
  3. The green is very soft
  4. There is an obstacle in the way.
Harvey Penick's Little Red Book
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