Golf Instruction on Vinyl: When Famous Golfers Put Out Record Albums

Arnold Palmer golf instruction record album

Back in my youth, back when every kid had a record player, my grandparents picked up a double-album from a garage sale for me: An Arnold Palmer golf instruction vinyl LP.

In the days before VHS, which came before DVDs, which came before streaming, which came before whatever comes next, the only way for pro golfers to offer golf instruction outside of in-person, in-print, or live-on-TV lessons was vinyl. A record album.

And over the decades, up through the 1970s, there were famous pro golfers doing just that. It wasn't a huge niche in the record business, but it existed, and we're going to list a handful of them here.

Some of these occasionally show up for sale on Amazon or on eBay. But I'm guessing garage sales are still a great way to stumble across an old golf instruction record.

Arnold Palmer, 1962: Personal Golf Instructions from Driver Thru Putter
For much of my teens and early 20s, I used the chipping method that Palmer described on this record. The record came with an instructional booklet that included photos matched to the tracks on the two-album set. You can listen to the record via YouTube:

Archie Compston, Golfing Hints, 1936: A series of four records promoted by the Silvertown Company, makers of the Silver King golf ball in the U.K. Compston was a British golf star and Ryder Cup player of the 1920s and 1930s.

Tommy Armour, Famous Golf Secrets, 1956: Armour, the "Silver Scot" and 3-time major winner, was perhaps the most-expensive golf instructor of his era. The record sleeve touts that listeners recieve "8 in-person $50-an-hour golf lessons." Among the things we'll learn, the packaging promises, is how to "whack the hell out of the ball with your right hand."

Peter Thomson, Golf, 1957: If you're going to try to sell some golf instruction records, you might as well try it after winning your third consecutive British Open. Thomson pulled off that threepeat in 1954-56.

Easy Golf With Your Pro Arnold Palmer, 1958: The Arnie album my grandparents bought me wasn't his first instructional record. This one is a single disc released four years prior to the better-known one, and came with 84 photos that accompanied Palmer's teaching.

Jimmy Demaret's Golf-to-Music Lessons, 1959: 3-time Masters champ Demaret loved singing almost as much as he loved golf. His golf instruction album features his teaching (and occasional singing) set to music. This boxed set came with five 7-inch records and eight accompanying lesson books.

Bob Rosburg, Hear How to Improve Your Golf, 1960: "Rossie" later became more famous to golf fans in the 1970s, '80s and '90s as a broadcaster, but he won the 1959 PGA Championship. A year later, this record appeared. "A complete course in golf fundamentals," the sleeve promises.

10 Ways to Take Strokes Off Your Game, 1967: This was a promotional gimmock for the Munsingwear clothing line, featuring the golfers they were paying to wear their golf apparel. Dow Finsterwald, Billy Casper, Frank Beard, Ray Floyd, Al Geiberger, Bob Goalby, Tommy Jacobs, Don January, Bobby Nichols, Mason Rudolph and Dan Sikes each get one track on the album to cover a different aspect of the game.

Gay Brewer, How to Give Your Golf Game the Masters Touch, 1968: Gay Brewer won the 1967 Masters, hence the title of this record. "Feeling low about your golf game?" the album's back cover asks. "Bounce back the Gay Brewer way!" That's a reference to the fact that Brewer blew the 1966 Masters on the final hole, but came back to win it the following year.

John Jacobs, Doctor Golf, 1972
Jacobs was a golf instruction guru before the term "guru" was being used for the Harmons and Leadbetters of today. His book Practical Golf is a classic of the genre. Before that he was a successful tour pro and one of the founders of the European Tour. You can listen to this album here:

A few others: We've also seen a 1971 album by Jack Nicklaus called Jack Nicklaus on Golf, and a 1958 record called Easy Golf With Your Favorite Pro Ken Venturi, but we haven't been able to find their album covers or any for-sale listings for them.

If you know of more (and there are plenty more out there), click one on our tweets above and let us know about them.

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