Golf Magazine first came out with a list of the Top 100 Teachers
in 1996, and every year since my brothers--Bill, Butch and
Craig--and I have made the cut. So imagine our surprise when Bill
and I were dropped from this year's Top 100. Maybe Golf thinks
Bill and I have lost a step as swing coaches, but I'm trying to
look on the bright side: From now on Butch is going to have to
give me a couple of strokes in our brotherly grudge matches, and,
if necessary, I can always cry on the shoulders of past and
present pupils such as Fred Couples, Catrin Nilsmark, Craig
Stadler and Lanny Wadkins.
The thing that gets me is that nobody knows what criteria Golf
uses to select the Top 100 (although the list does seem to
suggest some sort of self-promotion index). The editors say they
"comb the country for instructors with a deep knowledge of the
swing" but never say exactly how. I do know that this year Golf
hired Paul Schempp, a University of Georgia psychologist, to help
rate us. Somehow the correlation between a tweedy Ph.D. and my
golf knowledge was lost on me, so I never bothered to fill out
I've been teaching for 33 years and run my own golf school, and
I'm convinced that getting bumped from the Top 100 has nothing to
do with my abilities or credentials and everything to do with my
family's history with Golf. For the past six years we've been
pestering the magazine to include our late father, Claude, the
former head pro at Winged Foot and the winner of the 1948
Masters, in Golf's World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame, and every
year Dad is overlooked. For that reason my brothers and I stopped
going to the magazine's annual cocktail party at the PGA
Merchandise Show. (The editors invite the Top 100 teachers, and
it's a big deal to show up and pay your respects.) Maybe I'll
make an effort to attend this year.
On second thought, maybe it's better if I'm not in the Top 100.
I've never put much stock in best or worst lists, and I'd rather
let my work speak for itself.
January 27, 2003
Harmon, 55, runs the Dick Harmon School of Golf at the Houstonian
Golf Club in Richmond, Texas.