I just picked up a copy and read it all the way through. I was interested since its supposedly "the best selling golf book of all time". I still wonder what it is about this little text that makes it so popular. It's an unusual instruction book. There's not a single illustration, and there's more than a few pointless anecdotes.
That said, I have found a couple of tidbits of wisdom which although tiny, can be of enormous impact (which I had also picked up second hand before I'd even read the book). The first is Harvey's directive of Take dead aim
. It is such a tiny almost throwaway phrase that seems hardly meaningful at first, but it is actually a quite effective, singular thought to keep with you on the golf course. There's a hundred things to possibly think about while on the course, standing over a shot, (in fact I believe distraction is one of the average golfer's most malicious of bugaboos) and Take dead aim
helps me to concentrate on what's truly important out there.
The other important lesson I take from Penick is to never take a practice swing without aiming at something. To me, this practice trains the entire body to square the clubface through impact, which is probably only the single most important objective in the golf swing. Without aiming a practice swing at a particular spot on the ground, I tend to fixate on aesthetics, like making a good-looking swing...focusing on everything but
squaring the face through impact.
So while I was initially disappointed in it, I now realize that those two tidbits alone are worth the price of the book (which ain't much anyways). Effective teaching is such an elusive thing, and it doesn't always follow rules and conventions. That's what I've learned from Little Red Book. It might've taken Penick a lifetime of teaching to come up with those two utterly simple little instructions.
Anyone else got any help from this book?