August 12, 2013 Home to famous family of teaching professionals, Oak Hills Country Club owes its high stature to Harmons.
Born in New Rochell, Craig Harmon, 67, marked his 41st season as PGA head professional at one of America’s most historic golf facilities at last week PGA Championships. A member of Golf Digest’s list of 50 Greatest Teachers, Harmon is ranked number one instructor in New York.
One of four sons of legendary Claude Harmon Senior, Craig learned lessons well from a father who won the 1948 Masters Tournament while distinguishing himself as an instructor and popular head professional at Winged Foot Golf Club. Brothers Butch (Claude Jr.), Billy, and Dick, who died in 2006, have all also made respective impacts in teaching the game.
[highlight] Butch Harmon has distinguished himself with some notable names in his career – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, among many others – Craig and Brother Billy take pride in building players of perhaps a lesser pedigree. However, Craig’s stable of students currently includes former US PGA Champion Jeff Sluman, 2010 Ryder Cup star Jeff Overton and LPGA Tour Professional Alena Sharp [/highlight]
The Harmon brothers have made their distinctive mark in the golf arena. They learnt the art from a father who was the epitome of a PGA club professional. Claude Harmon had an innate ability to connect with both the game’s finest players as well as amateurs, building lifelong relationships and enhancing one’s teaching skills.
“I always wanted to do what he did and used all his ideas all my life,” says Claude Harmon. “To this day, I still think about how he handled certain situations. He was just so perfect with people.”
“One of his great lines is that to be a golf professional with people, you have to have a duck’s back – meaning the water never gets inside the feathers and people never bother you,” Craig says he learnt from his father.
Brothers Butch and Billy marvel at how long their brother could remain at one club for so long.
“I can, because nobody bothers me,” says Harmon. “I enjoy everybody, and allow them to be who they are. Everybody has their idiosyncrasies and I kind of like them. I kind of like having the challenge of someone being different.”
Butch Harmon has distinguished himself with some notable names in his career – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, among many others – Craig and Brother Billy take pride in building players of perhaps a lesser pedigree. However, Craig’s stable of students currently includes former US PGA Champion Jeff Sluman, 2010 Ryder Cup star Jeff Overton and LPGA Tour Professional Alena Sharp.
Harmon said that golf was the glue that bonded the brothers. “If we didn’t have golf, we didn’t know what we were going to do anyway,” says Harmon. “But we had a good head start and we carried the ball from there.”
When Oak Hill’s board named Harmon its head professional in 1972, Claude Harmon had to get the last word. “He said that I would never have gotten the job if my name was Craig Schultz. He might be right there, but I kept it as Craig Harmon.”