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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

An Unusual Tip from Harvey Penick

You may have heard of Harvey Penick. He taught, among others, Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite, and he wrote several books, including a legendary one called Harvey Penick's Little Red Book. This tip is from a collection called The Wisdom of Harvey Penick, and it's one of the most interesting tips I think I've ever read. It's from a tip called "Keep It Moving":
Poor players usually seem embarrassed to play with good players.

The fact is that you may not be good enough to play with the good players, but no one will notice if you keep up.

The good players are not going to be watching you and criticizing your swing. They have their own games to deal with.

But if you hold up play, the others will notice you -- and probably not in a kindly manner. (p.156)
Not what I would have expected from a legendary teacher, but this thought has some merit. Pace of play is always an issue these days, and Penick also mentions how people hate to play with players who throw clubs, keep a negative mindset, and waste time. But he also says that if you "keep the game moving in a good humor," that you will generally be welcome.

I can vouch for that. I have a friend who has always been a much better player than me; our game is that I try to keep it close, and he tries to beat me as badly as possible. He told me one day that he enjoyed playing with me more than with a lot of his friends who were much better, and I asked him why. He said, "Because this is just a game to you. I know we're going to have fun. You compete, but it isn't everything to you."

Of course, if the folks you play with don't feel that way, I have a tip of my own: Find some new friends. I make it a point to play with people I know will be fun to play with, and because of that, even my worst rounds tend to be enjoyable.

With a new golf season getting underway, you might want to give this tip a try. ;-)


  1. Mike, great advice. Whether it be a group 4-on-4-on-4 or just a fourball, every putt usually means something, but if it ever stops being a lot of laughs throughout, I'll find a new group.

    It is a lot more fun shooting a lower number, but it still should always be fun...

  2. You know, I think it's interesting that, earlier this year, Camilo said that his goal was to have more fun... and that seems to have broken him out of his 2009 slump. I guess this is a tip that works for the pros as well.