HHarvey Penick’s Little Red Book should be required reading for golfers looking to improve their games. Penick had a gift for making the complex seem simple, and his teachings of him ring true to this day. With the PGA Tour heading back to Penick’s home of Austin later this month for the Dell Match Play, there is no better time to revisit the best secrets from his Little Red Book. Today we learn why swinging hard will make you hit approach shots better.
Part 1: How to lower your handicap by five strokes
Part 2: What golfers get wrong about their practice swings
Part 3: The simple fundamentals for hitting a perfect bunker shot
Part 4: The 2 most important psychological elements of golf
Part 5: Dispelling one of the biggest golf-swing myths
Recreational golfers have quite a difficult time getting their approach shots to the hole. According to shot-tracking system Game Golf, 94 percent of golfers consistently leave their approach shots short of the green. And even before the advent of shot-tracking technology, some of the best teachers in the world knew this was an issue that the everyday golfer faced.
“The average golfer seldom hits a middle-iron approach shot past the pin,” Harvey Penick wrote in his Little Red Book. “Some teachers recommend that the average golfer use one club stronger for his approach … I don’t care for this idea.”
Instead of clubbing up, Penick said, try to hit the ball harder. Take the shorter club, but swing aggressively.
“When you take a stronger club and try to hit it easy, your muscles will involuntarily tell you that you are using the wrong club, and you are likely to flinch and pull up on the shot,” he said. “If you want to hit the stronger club anyway, grip down an inch on the handle — and go ahead and hit it hard.”
An aggressive swing is always better than a timid one. So if you want to get your ball to the hole, swing hard!