The 20th Anniversary Edition of the golf instruction classic, Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book, has just been published and Davis Love was invited to write the Introduction.
It is a fascinating insight into golf connections most of us never knew about. Everybody pretty much knew that Penick’s most famous students were Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite. They knew it because Penick taught at the Austin Country Club and Crenshaw and Kite were both famously from Texas, Austin to be sure. Penick’s greatness as a teacher was ratified by what he accomplished with these distinctly different golfers; Crenshaw a quintessentially natural, feel player and Kite, a dogmatic, technical player.
But did you know that Penick was the golf coach at the University of Texas? Did you know that he recruited Davis’ father, Davis Love, Jr., from his home in Arkansas to play for him at Texas? Did you know that Love III worked fairly extensively with Penick too? Did you know that Love, Jr. established a golf scholarship at Texas and that British Open champion, Justin Leonard, was its first recipient?
The Introduction is filled with lush stories of Penick’s subtle teaching touch such as this one about Davis’ father, by then an assistant pro eagerly seeking ways to become a better teacher himself, following unusual advice from “Mr. Penick:”
Harvey suggested that my father take dancing lessons. He never said why. My father did as Harvey suggested. Maybe it had something to do with improving his balance — he didn’t know. Only later my father figured it out: Harvey wanted him to know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a lesson and what it’s like to be trying something new.
Golf.com has the excerpt and it’s worth taking a look just for photo of a very young Davis Love earnestly sitting behind his heroes in two-seat golf cart.