By: Count Yogi’s Apprentice, Timothy Nicholls
Handsome Count YogiCount YogiHall of Fame Photo 1941Encyclopedia Britannica“Who’s – Who”Harry M. Frankenberg (April 4th, ca 1908 – February 15th, 1990. Photo Source: Published in “Revolutionary Golf Made Easy”©, 1941.), (a.k.a) Count Yogi ®, was an entertainment name given to him by Hollywood’s elite after arriving in California from Chicago in late 1949 after being discriminated and banned from the PGA for their indifference towards him. His ethnic background of being Irish, Jewish and American Indian, I’m sure did not help matters much either. The new name of “Count Yogi” began a new era and career of his life as a master golf performer and entertainer. All during the 1920s, 30’s and 40’s he had played against and beat most all of golf’s greats (some refused to play against him). After being “blackballed” from competing in professional tournaments in the U.S. like the great South African player Bobby Locke, in 1952 he officially began his traveling road show around the country playing exhibition rounds tying or breaking numerous course records on courses he had never even seen before.
After the 18 hole playing and scoring exhibition, usually with the club pro and the Men’s and Ladies club champions, he would then spend 3 hours setting up the show and then perform his 1½ hour long miracle trick shot exhibition that equaled the amount of shots of three rounds of 18 hole golf!! He had to change swings each time with every shot and still hit perfectly straight shots or called out intentional fades and slices. And he did for over a period of 30 years and 7,000 performances without ever hitting a poor shot with clubs and implements you can’t even imagine!! The amount of energy, skill, and stamina it took to first play the 3½ to 4 hour scoring exhibition, then spend 3 hours setting up the show, and then perform another 1½ hour ‘miracle’ shot show, which was so tremendous, that to this very day no other professional or trick golfer has ever been able to completely duplicate all of the shots of the show with the same perfection and consistency. This was accomplished over a span of 30 years for 7,000 perfect shot performances, and 548 witnessed and recorded weather element and condition miracles stopping for his show.
He was also the only man in golfing history to successfully succeed in mastering all aspects and areas of the game of golf. He was the greatest Player, Teacher, and Performer the world has ever known in golf. Where Moe Norman and others left off, Count Yogi was just getting started.
Before He Was Count Yogi
He was born in Montana, America just after the turn of the last century. His ancestral background is quite unique. His ancestors include the legendary Chief Sitting Bull of the Sioux nation and his warrior son, Chief Gall, Yogi’s Great Grandfather on his father’s side.
Born into poverty but blessed with an IQ of 185, he rose up through a combination of intelligence, tough street smarts, and tenacious entrepreneurial efforts. Divinely gifted with a Jim Thorpe type of athletic skill and ability of most sports, his primary choice and passion was golf. No one knew what Yogi’s real name was, since American Indians don’t have surnames like our European ancestors. So, when born he was given the European “blueblood” surname of his Bavarian grandmother on his father’s side of Harry “Montana” Von Frankenberg (the “von” was dropped later to Americanize it).
Legend has it that when Harry was about 2 years of age his father Benjamin who at the time worked for the railroad in Chicago. After receiving his inheritance from his mother he attempted his hand in the cattle business. So he purchased some land and stock in Montana. His idea was he would raise the cattle there and then ship them back via train rail to Chicago for processing and packing. This was originally thought as a great idea since Harry’s father was already a farmer and experienced in animal husbandry, and also had connections with the railroad. Also Benjamin had some experience in meat packing since his Bavarian grandfather, Francoise Von Frankenberger had already made a fortune selling processed beef to the union armies during the Civil War. But something went tragically wrong. After the first year nearly every head of cattle died of some mysterious sickness. So feeling depressed and defeated he took what he had left of his inheritance and packed up his family and belongings and moved back to Chicago. He got his job back with the railroad and purchased a small farm on the south side of town but his ambitions never rose again and he finished his life out as a distant strong drinking and broken man.
One day at the tender age of six (circa 1915), after finishing his chores young Harry (Yogi) decided to wonder off to the far ends of his father's corn field. A young boys’ curiosity I would imagine. When he arrived at the far end of the field he came to a fence that bordered his fathers’ farm and a golf course, which he had never seen before. As he stood there gazing at the beautiful kept landscape of the course he suddenly heard a crackling sound in the trees above him. Suddenly a golf ball landed on the ground right in front of him about eight feet from the fence. A few seconds later he saw another ball that landed in the fairway. This all was really interesting to him because he had never seen anything like this before.
A few minutes had passed when suddenly young Harry saw four men (two players’ and their caddies) come walking up the fairway. One player and his caddy started walking towards where Harry was standing at the fence. Harry then spoke out; “Hey Mr.!” “Your ball is right here!” The man and his caddy came over and thanked young Harry for the spotting. When Yogi shared this story of his golf beginnings with me he said that back in those early days of golf in America only the very wealthy played the game, and it was not un-common where only six to eight men would own and play the whole golf course with family, friends and business associates. This is the way it was back then before there ever was a professional’s golf association, and because it took time and money to play, most of the best golfers were the amateur sons of wealthy parents. In fact, the first pros were the caddies who learned by watching and imitating the best looking moves of the men they caddied for. Yogi’s boyhood idol and who he caddied for was the great Charles “Chick” Evans Jr. who Yogi said was the first “Simon Pure” who kept and maintained the concept of what he called the “Intelligent Ancient Move”!!
After the man thanked Harry for the ball spot, he watched the caddy hand the man a club, and while doing so the caddy gave young Harry a wink. The player then took the club back and then WHAM!!! Yogi said it was the most awesome sound and visual site he had ever seen or heard. The ball seemed like it exploded off the clubs’ face, like being shot out of a canon. After that the caddy said; “Take care kid”, and walked away down the fairway.
Yogi said he was amazed and told me from that very moment forward he knew his destiny and life was going to be in golf, and when he arrived back home that day he told his mother so. As he began to head back home he saw lying on the ground a broken off stick branch of your typical Midwest hardwood. When he picked it up he noticed that though it was slightly crooked, where it had broken off it was a knot with a flat face on it like a club face.
He picked up the stick and brought it home with him. The next day after completing his chores he ran back to the area of the fence and the same group passed by again. When he saw that they all noticed him there little Harry remembering and imitating what the player look like the day before, Harry swung the stick. They all chuckled and one said; “Good swing kid!” He then watches them all swing again. This went on for about a week when this young boy genius noticed that when ever anyone of the golfers had a really good shot that they all looked physically a certain way, which was tallish looking with good and graceful movement, balance, posture, and an attractive looking finish form. So from then on he began to copy and emulate perfectly those movements but with dedicated and precise focus and commitment. One day standing at the fence waiting for the golfers to pass by and look at him swing his stick for them, which by now they actually all looked forward to; this day when he swung one of the players said; “Boy J.D. if you could only swing like that kid!” “Look at him swing that stick”!! Knowing how poor this little boy was one of the men had him made a special little club and walked up and handed it to him and said; “You keep up the good work son, you have something very special!” Little Harry was so happy for the attention and the receiving of this gift he began to weep with joy. He continued to swing for them with the same and consistent grace, style and elegance almost every day for the rest of that summer and into the fall.
He used to make his own crude golf balls out of mud, chopped straw and corn husk and stroke them over the corn. He would get anywhere from two to three shots out of one until it broke up into pieces. One day when playing his perfected physical movement swing in his Dad’s corn field a thought suddenly came to him but the thought was audio in his head. The thought said that the most precious gift and powerful part of his entire body was his brain and to use it accordingly with what he was doing physically. He listened to the voice and from that day forward at the age of 7 he never had an off day or injury at golf for the next 77 years. From then until the day he passed away he had never had a lesson or was ever off his game, even well into his senior years. He won many tournaments and accomplished many records and feats with this knowledge that is meant for all human beings of all ages upon this planet. He once told me that he felt it came from the universal mind of our Creator as a gift to him and answer to his prayers. He called it his God-Given “Infallible Mental Routine”. It made every other method, system or theory on the planet instantly obsolete.
The boy wonder grew up to be known as the “Great Frankenberg” back in the early days of golf in America when the city of Chicago was considered the golf capital of that era. This was long before nationally publicized and televised professional golf as we know it today. Back then all the top people in their fields were members of his two block long indoor health & social club, and golf school. It was featured in countless newspaper articles and on local radio shows, talking of members feeling healthier and happier with more vitality, while also dramatically improving and enjoying their golf games. He literally created many golf champions including Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias and many others.
There exist today over 40,000 newspaper archives and written testimonials from history's top people in sports and golf. Guinness totally missed the boat on the greatest competitive round of golf ever played. In 1934 an enormously gifted golfer, going by the name of Harry M. Frankenberg, aka Count Yogi, shot a 55 at Bunker Hill Golf Course, winning the Chicago Open Golf Championship, a regulation length course, par 74. Just imagine, this feat was accomplished back in the olden days with very primitive equipment as compared to today. This was accomplished by Yogi shooting two back to back holes in one (a par 3, 187 and a par 4, 347 yards)!!! I’ve been told that the odds of doing so are 1 in 63 million; and God only knows how many eagles and birdies he had also. However, to me the odds seem more like 1 in a Billion!!! I, truly, don’t think that anyone else in the history of the game, including Ben Hogan, would have been capable of accomplishing such an extraordinary feat. His playing partners that day included Al Espinosa, winner of 9 PGA Tour events and a pro named Terry McGovern. Count Yogi also holds the fastest played – lowest scored 9 holes in history; 9 under par 26 on a par 35 done in 58 minutes walking, not running!!! His fastest played round record for 18 holes was a 69 on a par 72 done in 57 minutes.
Count Yogi Historical Photos
HERE ARE SOME OF THE AMAZING FEATS OF THE GREATEST GOLFER AND
TEACHER IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME!!
“Much of Count Yogi’s life is
Shrouded in mystery, but there
Was never any doubt about his
Ability to play and teach the game”
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF COUNT YOGI?
HERE BELOW ARE SOME GREAT HISTORICAL READS!!
“The Secret of Golf”©: This 2005 historical piece was written by George Peper, who at the time was the recently retired chief writer and editor of ‘Golf Magazine. Count Yogi was featured in Chapter: 47 under the heading: “THE BEST PLAYER YOU’VE NEVER SEEN”. Count Yogi’s quote: “No matter how I play, I’m never off my system. I more than likely will be the only consistent golfer that ever lived.”
Another great read on Count Yogi and more recent is: “Golf’s Forgotten Legends & Unforgettable Controversies”© written by Jeff Gold and published in 2015, Count Yogi is featured in all of Chapter; 13. It finally tells what really was “Hogan’s Secret”!! It is truly a fabulous read.
COUNT YOGI TESTIMONIALS
A FEW OF OVER 10,000