Meet the men behind the quality instruction offered by our Texas golf academy.
Harvey Penick was born October 23, 1904 in Austin, Texas. He became a caddy at Austin Country Club at the age of 8 and became head professional at 18; a position he held for the next 50 years!
Harvey Penick taught golf for seven decades and coached the University of Texas golf team for 33 years. Among his well-known pupils were Ed White, Betty Jameson, Morris Williams Jr., Betsy Rawls, Mickey Wright, Kathy Whitworth, Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw and Sandra Palmer. Those ladies won over 240 LPGA tour events, 2 U.S. Women’s Amateurs and 10 U.S. Women’s Opens. The men account for 5 NCAA individual titles, 2 Masters, one U.S. Open and over 35 PGA tour wins - Walker Cupper Ed White never played professionally. Morris Williams, Jr. died in the service as a young man.
Finally, in the 90’s the whole world learned about this humble Texas golf instructor. In collaboration with Austin writer, Bud Shrake, Harvey sold millions of copies of his golf instruction books. These include:
Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book (1992)
If You Play Golf, You’re My Friend (1993)
For All Who Love The Game (1995)
The Game For A Lifetime (1996), a work in progress at the time of his death on April 2, 1995.
Jim Hopkins was born and raised in Abilene, Texas and has been playing golf for as long as anyone can remember. Jim was part of two state championship teams at Abilene Cooper High School, and later went to Angelo State University on a golf scholarship and was named Golfer of the Year as a freshman. Jim started his professional golf career in Austin in 1987 as the Assistant Professional at Morris Williams GC under head pro, George Hannon (former Texas Longhorn golf coach) and later was 1st Assistant at Lago Vista CC. In 1993, he began work at Golfsmith as one of the original instructors for the Harvey Penick Golf Academy. Jim had the opportunity to work with a great many students in his time there, including Thomas Henderson, Turk Pipkin (Jim is mentioned in his book The Old Man and the Tee,) R.C. Buford (S.A. Spurs General Manager) as well as the 2000 NAIA Ladies National Champion. After over 16 years (and over 22,000 students) as instructor, head instructor and then, head professional, he decided to leave to pursue his goal of running a top quality golf academy as well as work with students on an individual and long-term basis.
Jim’s association with Harvey began very early in his professional career. His first boss, George Hannon, was a great friend and disciple of Harvey’s and had many notes and teaching techniques that he shared with Jim. In fact, Jim feels that he got to read the Little Red Book years before it was published because of Mr. Hannon’s notes! When he went to work for Golfsmith in 1993, he had the privilege to be in the room for almost every one of Harvey’s weekly talks to the academy students. He considers it the greatest honor in his professional life to be given the opportunity, by the Penick family, to run the Harvey Penick Golf Academy.
He has a wife, Christina, and a daughter, Julia. They are the love of his life. He enjoys fishing, hunting and reading and is an avid golf book collector. He has over 1,000 books and magazine related to golf.
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I just wanted to thank you and Roy both for a great and well run academy. I enjoyed the weekend. The other guys were great, it was a good class. I have been working hard on my game since returning home and have been working on the changes you made in my game. I have been working on keeping my weight balanced and off of my heels, in both my setup and through the swing. This has made me so much more consistent both in my driving and iron play. I have been focusing on keeping my left foot more on the ground and not have it spin up and away to the left like we saw on the video of my swing. I am now compressing the ball so much better with my irons and taking more divots as I compress the ball and not just picking it clean like I did before. My bunker play and putting have also improved since the Academy. I had some good rounds in March and April but felt like I was playing better than what my scores were. Happily, this past Saturday it all came together and I shot a 1 under 71 here at my home course in Lubbock. I will continue to work on these changes made there as I see them making me a better and more consistent golfer.
I would also like to make some comments about the Academy. I have nothing negative to say about it. I very much enjoyed the Academy the couple times I went as a kid when it was at Golfsmith. However, now having done both, I can say that I like the current set up better. I loved the advantages having it at a golf course. Falconhead is a beautiful course and obviously that was a great advantage in that we got to play the course. That was awesome. Also, having you take us out on the course for the course management session is a big bonus too. The practice facility was great too as we got to work on every part of the game. I also like the smaller classes and the video analysis was more in depth. I particularly liked how you were mic'd so we can hear your analysis anytime at home. I also want to thank you greatly for continuing on the Harvey Penick Academy. I have been a close follower and student of Mr. Penick's since I read The Little Red Book when I was a kid. I have always admired his teachings on golf and life. You are to be commended for carrying on the tradition and his teachings. I could tell during the Academy how important that is to you and to Roy. Thank you both for a fun time, the help, and your professiononalism.
Thanks again for the great school.
I played golf cold on Wednesday morning after completing the Penick instruction. By cold, I mean, I did not pick up a club till getting to the course on Wednesday.
I went to the range and 'clipped some tees' and warm up exercises and hit 7- wedge and a couple of drives.
I shot 85 on a course that I have never seen nor had anyone in my foresome seen it. That 85 includes an 8 on a par 5 and a lost ball 7 on a par 4. I haven't shot 85 in 10 or 15 years. Usually shooting 90 to 103 for decades. I didn't revert back to the bad habits, it is really weird to change the grip, swing etc as dramatically as I did.
Thanks to you guys, Jim, Woody and Roy for the great weekend.
The Penick Golf Academy was, in a word, fantastic. The instruction is extremely well-organized and the one on one attention given to each student is invaluable. Most of all, it is clear that you genuinely care about making each and every one a better golfer with a better understanding of the whole approach, both mental and physical, to the game. I would highly recommend your course to anyone who is interested in improving his or her game, regardless of the individual's current level of play. Most of all thanks to you for your patience, kindness, technical advice, and understanding.
Jim it was a pleasure to attend the academy for the second time. Your teams attention to detail and the personal attention you afforded each one of us exceeded our expectations. I would like to say the third day where we got to play with you added a personal touch that was unexpected treat. Very rarely do you get the opportunity to apply what you learned on the course with an instant strategy and feedback opportunity. I highly encourage you to keep the 3rd day in the program. I do not get impressed very often but your team "exceeded " my expectations! Thanks again. I look forward to seeing you guys again .
Parker and I want to say thank you for a great weekend of golf and friendship.....we learned a bunch and made new friends. We are working on our swings and trying to improve. I have been videotaping my swing (indoors, without a ball)...and I am trying to improve my backswing position!
Thank you for everything, and we look forward to seeing you again.
Brad and Parker J.
Just wanted to share some good golf news with you.
After attending your school back in April, I didn't have much time to hit a course, but rather worked on correcting some of the swing flaws you noticed, and worked some drills you showed.
I just played yesterday, and went from shooting 90s and 100 before your Academy to shooting a 79.
Obviously, the game is a lot more fun doing that.
Thanks again. All the best...Paul R.