Who was Count Yogi?

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





  • Shot 26-29 for a 55 at Bunker Hill Golf Course, a 74 regulation course, winning the 1934 Chicago Golf Championship. This is still the world’s competition scoring record. It included two in a row, back-to-back holes-in-ones’. A par 3, 187 yards and a par 4, 347 yards. The odds of doing this are 63 million to 1. In his group playing with him was the legendary Al Espinosa, and Terry McGovern.
  • Additionally, shot scores of 55, 57, 58 and 59 in 18-hole rounds.
  • Shot a 59 in winning the best ball title at Greenview Country Club, Chicago.
  • Shot seven birdies in a row for a world tournament record (held for eighteen years) in the 1941 Chicago Open at Elmhurst Country Club, won by Ben Hogan.
  • Averaged 67 per round for 203 rounds of 18-hole golf in 1940, playing either right handed or left handed.
  • Played a 550-yard hole in two strokes in Corpus Christi, Texas, driving 453 yards and sinking the next shot with a wedge.
  • Shot par or under for 267 of 273 successive shows.
  • Drives of 453, 450, 435 and 425 yards.
  • Fifty-five holes-in-one; nine of them on par-4 holes, two in succession (187 and 347 yards); one 416-yard hole-in-one.
  • Fourteen putts for eighteen holes (score 29-29=58) on par-72 Wilson Golf Course, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, former scene of Los Angeles Open, 1951.
  • 645-yard par-6 hole in 3; 59 on par-74 course, 1933.
  • Eight birdies and two eagles in succession in a 58 at Paw Paw Lakes Links, Michigan, 1939.
  • Played eighteen holes in fifty-seven minutes and 69 shots; fastest round (not cycling, but walking), mid-City Golf Course, Chicago, 1948.
  • 31-32=63 course record at Bel Air Country Club, Los Angeles, 1948.
  • 34-31=65 par-73 to win Metro Goldwyn Mayer's annual Open, 1949.
  • 31-36=67 at Western Avenue Golf Course (Los Angeles) to win Universal International event, while in Hindu suit, 1949.
  • Seven wins and two runner-up positions in Pro-Ams, 1949.
  • 31-32=63 on par-72 Grossinger, New York; broke record of Sam Snead, Lew Worsham and Lloyd Mangrum, 1952.
  • Sixty-four with Jerry Zalkind at Glenbard Country Club, Chicago, March 31, (first day out on par-72 course, broke record of George Dawson, the great amateur vice-president of A. G. Spaulding), 1944.
  • Seven rounds of eighteen-hole golf from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Not running-just proving infallible mental routine; 69, 66, 67, 66, 67, 68, 67, Bunker Hill Country Club, 1940.
  • Seven birdies in succession at Golfmoor Country Club; broke Walter Hagen's record with 64, 1932.
  • Sixty-four, Timber Trails (wooded fairways) to win Visking event, 1938.
  • Sixty-three, Elmhurst Country Club to win National Furniture Championship, 1939.
  • Sixty-five, Westward Ho Country Club to win National Tool and Die, 1939.
  • Sixty-nine or under almost every round of professional career.


“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”





“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.




A FEW OF OVER 10,000


  • "Count Yogi hits shots you can't even hit --- perfect. Of course, he is the greatest."
    Oscar Fraley: (Fearless Fraley, golf, sports and movie writer. The Untouchables)

  • "Yogi just has something others don't have!"
    Florence Anderson: (Widow of long time Secretary & Treasurer of the National PGA)

  • "Count Yogi the Golfer Exceptionally!"
    Joe Novak: (Three times National PGA President)

  • "How can you remain perfect and so consistent at golf shots for so many years? The finest opening I've ever had on my TV program!"
    Donald O' Conner: (Legendary actor, dancer, singer and TV host)

  • "Count Yogi is not just the great performer, but an honest, intelligent man."
    Bob Toski: (World Golf Champion and Vice President of the National PGA)

  • "I agree incredible player, teacher and Super Straight Shot Artist!"
    Jimmy Demaret: (PGA Champion)

  • "Thought Yogi was only publicity; he's truly the greatest."
    Al Besselink: (Winner of the 1st PGA Tournament of Champions Las Vegas )

  • "Such talent and such publicity is incredible!"
    Leo Peterson: (Sports Editor United Press International, New York City)

  • "Golf will roll along on its own merit. It will not survive merely on tournaments, Rose Bowl games or World Series alone, but with teachers like you to nurture the game to maturity."
    Grantland Rice: (The Dean of Sportswriters. Chicago, 1928)

  • "I've seen them all. Yogi's show of scoring, teaching and entertainment tops everything in golf, athletics and entertainment. It's the greatest show in history. You do yourself a favor when you see the Count Yogi show."
    Willie MacFarlane: (Dean of Professional Golf Winners Miami , Florida )

  • "The shoes squeaked but the heavy rains stopped when Yogi performed (witnessed weather elements stopped 3 times out of 848 times unfailingly)."
    Richard N. Tarlow: (Long time President of Foot-Joy Shoe Company)

  • "Fellow pros book Count Yogi for your own good and that of your members. He's is not a phony as we have all been led to believe. He's honest, sincere and there's no finer man. Yogi is without doubt the most perfect and consistent player in all history, as well as the greatest teacher. He's a true, real professional golf artist and the only master of straight shots at both conventional and trick golf. Just book him instantly and hold me responsible. He's the best. I was an eye witness when Yogi prayed off a heavy rain for Guy Savage to film his show on TV here in Huston."
    Milton 'PRO' Demaret: (Braeburn C.C. brother of Hall of Famer Jimmy Demaret and past host of the Legend Open)

  • "I understand you now. You are not like the rest of us at all. You are the most perfect golfer from tee to green I've ever known. I'm giving you this badge for identity for other tournaments. Good Luck."
    Ed Dudley: (President, National PGA and Pro at Augusta National Golf Club, Scene of Bobby Jones "Masters" Tournament)

  • "Count has the best mind and the greatest swing in golf; you can get along without Yogi, but not as well."
    Dean Martin, legendary Actor and Singer.

  • "Count Yogi's original book was the greatest ever written. He's the longest and straightest driver as well."
    Tommy Armour Sr.: (Winner of most every Pro Golf Title and considered one of the best PGA Teachers of all time!!!)


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