Coach Speak

Chuck Cook’s Rules of Thumb


I have saved in my files Chuck Cook rules of thumb on strategy and playing golf.  These rules were published in Golf Digest July 1991.  There are several references to Harvey Penick, the great teacher of the game from Texas.  Yes, you read correctly, 1991.  Even twenty years later I find myself telling my students similar ideas about the game we all love.
  • Never aim where a straight shot will hurt you.
  • Shoot at the pins when playing a 6 iron or less, shoot at the safe area when it’s a 5 iron or more.
  • When you’re playing well, play more often than practice.  When you are not, do the opposite.
  • Swing like you are getting paid by the hour, not the job. (Penick)
  • A bunker shot requires two to three times the club head speed that a pitch of the same length requires.
  • Concentration is thinking of a few things, confusion is thinking of a lot of things.
  • Golf is like skiing: If you don’t know your limitations, you’ll get hurt.
  • A man who can chip and putt is a match for anyone.  A man who can’t is a match for no one. (Penick)
  • You can’t read greens until your ball is going the same speed at the hole most of the time.
  • Tee up on the side of the hole with the most trouble in the landing area.
  • If you’re equal with all, putt before you chip, chip before pitch.  If you’re not, use what you do best.
  • When taking a lesson just use one aspirin, don’t take the whole bottle.  (Penick)
Chuck Cook is a top teacher of PGA Pros and everyday players of all ages.  He is the 1996 PGA of America Teacher of the Year and one of Golf Magazine Top 50 Best Teachers in America.  Chuck Cook also coached three US Open Champions:  Payne Stewart, Tom Kite and Corey Pavin.  Cook also authored two instructional books on the game and over 100 articles on the game of golf.


  1. Narro M.

    Thanks , I’ve recently been searching for info about this topic for ages and yours is the greatest I have came upon so far. What I don’t understood is in truth how you’re not really much more smartly-favored than you may be right now. You are very intelligent.

    1. Michael Andrusin

      Thanks for reading. The article was taken right from Golf Digest. Keep the great feedback coming. Mike

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