PGA Hall of Famer
Simple Truths About The Game of Golf
by Rick DePamphilis
PGA Master Professional
'Awesome! A wonderful read, guide on golf & life - thanks for sharing Dad's private lessons.'
-- Tim Harney/Paul Harney's son
'What you've written about your mentor is fun and colorful - a great remembrance ...'
-- Peter Morrice/Golf Digest Senior Editor
'Love the stories, kudos on this marvelous project ... superb content & concept - congrats!
-- Gary Larrabeee/Golf Historian
'Really enjoyed the wonderful stories - great lessons for all golfers, great teachings, simplistic methods.'
-- Don Cook/PGA, PGM Faculty Golf Instructor
I first met PGA Tour player Paul Harney at the tender age of 15 when I was lucky enough to win his junior golf tournament qualifier to his Paul Revere Junior Classic Championship hosted at his home course Pleasant Valley CC., in Worcester, Ma. [PHOTO 1] It was a big deal back then to win a junior event at a championship course that hosted a tour event, beat one of the leading juniors [Bob Caprera] in the state by 5 shots [PHOTO 2], and get the chance to have a current tour player and most successful Massachusetts PGA Professional Paul Harney, present me with the trophy.
Add to that Paul was in the middle of an illustrious career, as a seven time PGA Tour winner, *the holder of 5 Massachusetts Opens [won every one he played] with *multiple top ten finishes in the Masters and US Open between 1961-1967 - there was a lot of game and character a budding teenage junior golfer like me had to look up to in the name of Paul Harney.
So it was there on that beautiful summer day in New England that my relationship with Paul Harney began. Later that summer I developed the shanks and my father suggested that we take a ninety minute ride up from my hometown in Waltham, MA., to visit Paul at PV for a lesson to get rid of my shanks. I was apprehensive and embarrassed when I met with 'Mr. Harney' that day, as I was a long way away from the championship player he had presented the junior trophy to just a few weeks ago.
Nevertheless, I agreed to the lesson at my fathers urging, desperate for a cure to the dreaded shanks as anyone who has had them would attest. Once on the lesson tee there at Pleasant Valley, Paul asked me why I came for the lesson. After I told him I had developed the shanks, he asked me how long I had had the dreaded disease. Following my explanation Paul asked me if I knew how to hook the ball. Of course I did - for it was the hooking that I had been trying to stop when I started shanking.
'Let me see you try to hook the ball again'', Paul said to me somewhat surprisingly. Reluctantly, I did what he said and tried to hook several shots in a row, only to be totally astounded to see that every one of the shots I was trying to hook went right at the target. As I turned around for his approval, Paul Harney was walking halfway back up the hill to the pro shop ... lesson was over, no charge. In two minutes without saying a word about the mechanics, Paul had put me in a position and frame of mind where I had to succeed. It worked ... for weeks I hit a high percentage of green and fairways and won several junior tournaments in a row that summer ...
Little did I know at the time that this was to be the teaching, coaching and mentoring style of a man the Massachusetts Golfer Magazine would name as the *"Massachusetts Male Golfer of the Century" who would also be voted into the *PGA, New England PGA and Massachusetts Golf Association Hall of Fame. [PHOTO 3] That first lesson at Pleasant Valley would lay the groundwork for many such sessions together - first as a junior amateur, then as a collegiate amateur and finally as his PGA Apprentice from 1974-78.
Along the way and for years thereafter Paul's influence on my teaching, coaching and mentoring approach to golf instruction has shaped my professionalism and remains an integral part of my teaching to this very day. [PHOTO 4] Pauls 'learn by doing ' approach as akin to Hogan's 'in the dirt' quote and very reflective of his generations approach to finding out the answers to all of golfs' timeless secrets through practice and experimentation. Paul eschewed the value of swing 'mechanics' in place of putting me in a situation where I had to learn the lesson myself, often times the 'hard way' which had a much deeper meaning and long- lasting value than if he had told me in the first place.
Many of the lessons contained in this book were not understandable to me at the time they were offered - but I always remembered every word that was spoken, every situation that was created and every parable that was shared. It was only through time and maturation that I began to understand the nature of his lessons were not just about golf, but life itself - and that in creating situations where I had to learn the lessons myself, he was giving me the greatest gift of all - self discovery. It is a compilation of these life lessons along with some encouragement from family members oldest son Chris Harney and granddaughter Maxine and fellow that inspired the Harney's School of Hard Knocks - Simple Truths About The Game of Golf.