I had the rare pleasure of working with Henry Picard for a few years in the early 90s. He loved telling Hogan stories. Henry was very fiesty. You would do something simply because he said so. No questions. So I came along, and every time he would tell me to do something, I would say, “Now Hogan said…” So he began to quiz me, “What did Hogan say about the left foot.” I would stutter… He would say, “go home and read the book and let me know what you find out.” We did that with Hogan, Harry Vardon, and would you believe Homer Kelly! I have the only copy of the Golfing Machine in the world annotated by Henry Picard. It is falling apart, but what a treat!
I’m all ears for some Henry Picard insights…
I remember once asking Henry to team with me and let’s write a book. He commented he could say everything there was to say about golf swing on three sheets of paper.
He was an Alex Morrison disciple through and through. so, he believed in shifting the weight through the rolling of the feet. If I failed to do that, he was likely to strike me on the ankle with the grip end of the club, “Roll those feet, I said!” He also believed the swing should be long, at least to parallel. I took a pro out once to meet him and he ridiculed him because of his short swing. Henry also believed in a lagging take away. So as the hands would push the club back, the clubhead would lag behind. then you would flip in on plane at the top. Once he sat me on a stump and handed me a club and said to swing it. Then he asked me what I felt. I replied, “forearm rotation.” He said, “Every good swing has that!” He also believed the only way to hit a straight ball was by coming slightly over the top. You could never hit it straight by swinging from the inside.
One day I handed him a copy of The Golfing Machine. He quipped, “Ahh, the mechanical man!” He took it and read it. When I got it back, he had marked in it everywhere! He biggest complaint was Homer’s lack of reference to weight shift. He would write that often in the margin, “Weight shift first!” Of course, the Alex Morrison swing was a Roll, turn, roll, turn pivot movement. So that was very important to him. In the golfing Machine at 1-L, A., B. and C. he said those were the best three lines ever written about golf swing. I used to hit it very far in those days when I worked with Henry. I typically hit my 9 iron 165. There was so much whip lash in the swing he taught. I valued the time I spent with him, all the stories, the conversations. But in my heart I feel his swing style was too loosy goosy for me. I preferred firm wrists, firing my hips through the ball, holding the lag…
I once brought out another friend, who wrote for Golf Illustrated, to meet Henry. They want to do an article on Henry and include him in their top 100 teachers in America. I thought this would be great. So, I introduced them and we were all having a nice conversation until my friend mentioned the magazine he wrote for. Mr Picard chased him off the range, saying something like, “I know Al Barkow, and what your magazine stands for. I don’t want to have any part of it.” That was Henry. He once told me, “You are a better teacher than I am.” I laughed and said, “No way!” He replied, “It’s because you care what people think! When you get to be my age, you won’t care any more!” I could say more, but that not so briefly gets at what Henry was like…
Sorry, I wrote above post before signing in…
Great story - thanks for that. Lag - thats one for you to share on your Tuesday round with Al Barkow!
Thank you for your posts… great stuff… would love to hear more…
It’s funny because Barkow was just telling me the other day what a really nice man Picard was…
I think I best let that one rest!
Happened to see the post regarding Henry Picard. Over the years I collected became aware of Mr. Picard from various sources. Would you believe one was Ebay while I collected original photos and negatives of past champions from the Alex Morrison portfolio. I have quite a few Picard photos as well as some film clips of him hitting various clusbs, always wearing a tie and white shirt. Apparently he spent some time with Morrison who was not just a photo journalist of the time on the golf circuit but an instructor as well. The two Alex Morrison books are rare but very interesting reading, especially his concepts on the golf swing and teaching his methods. Really fun stuff.
Your help in getting Mr. Picard’s name where it belongs, in the mainstream of the game, is appreciated. I’m honored to introduce you (and the overall majority who do not know who Henry Picard was/is) to this: galdepress.com/wordpress/?bo … -hurricane
It’s an interesting topic, certainly pertaining to Hogan’s relationship with Picard.
Any particular fundamentals Picard seemed to hammer home that might have been a trademark of his instruction?
Henry believed that a few things were very important. He believed in shifting the weight through the rolling of the ankles. Once he sat me down and said swing the club. “What do you feel?” I replied all I feel is forearm rotation. He said every good swing has that. He thought it was impossible to hit a straight shot from the inside. You have to come slightly outside the line. He preferred what he called the original interlock grip, where the thumb of the left hand wraps around the shaft behind the right hand.
I once lent Mr. Picard my copy of the Golfing Machine. When he returned it, he had marked it all up. So, I now have the only copy of the golfing Machine, annotated by Henry Picard! Pretty cool!
That’s a cool memento to have broberts…any of his markings stand out?..did he re-word anything into his own thoughts?
In Power Golf, Ben mentions something that he never did in 5 Lessons when it came to proper lie angles. He wrote that the sole of the club should sit even at address in a proper setup, not toe up like so many clubfitters today advocate.
He believed that if the center of the sole wasn’t sitting even at address, if the toe or heel was up that it would lead to erroneous swings, especially toe up.
I believe his short height with his long wingspan and hooking early in his career led him to this conclusion, as there are reports of him bending his irons very flat to get the sole to sit even at address.
I followed his advice and bent my irons and wedges flatter so that they’d sit even at address in an ideal setup posture and so far they have performed way better than ever before and if I ever pull or hook it, I know it’s my swing instead of the clubs.