Recent news reports made it seem like famed golf instructor and Henderson resident Butch Harmon was retiring from teaching, but according to the man himself, who operates his golf school at Rio Secco, he will remain in the game.
“I told my guys that I wasn’t going to go out on tour anymore, but if they wanted my help they can always come here,” Harmon said by phone Tuesday, taking a break from a round at Anthem Country Club. “The only event I will now travel to is The Masters because I will do the Sky Sports broadcast and that will be the only television I do.
“In all honesty, it was just time; 35 years of traveling the tour has been a long grind and I was tired of the whole thing. The travel, the hotels, the restaurants, the pressure of it wore me out. At 75, it’s time for me to start enjoying my life.”
Harmon’s final event on the road was the Ryder Cup, but he remains a call away and is enjoying watching his son, Claude, take a more active role.
“Claude already helped me with Dustin (Johnson) and Rickie (Fowler) because they live in Jupiter (Florida), like he does, and so he has kind of taken over them and Jimmy Walker, as well,” Harmon said. “I still help Gary Woodland (and Danielle Kang and Ollie Schniederjans) and it seems like DJ (Johnson) texts me every week. With cameras in phones they can all send me video and Claude’s there if they need hands-on attention.
“They’ll still come to Vegas when they need help and it’s freed me up to work with some young pros and college players. I am still teaching a lot. I still do 15 or 16 golf schools a year and have a lot of clients that I have always taught. It’s not like I am walking away from working; I’m just walking away from traveling. I have been so fortunate in my life. Golf has been very good to me.”
Shriners champ embraces cause
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open champion Bryson DeChambeau held his inaugural foundation tournament Monday at Isleworth Country Club in Florida. Several Shriners Hospitals patients took part in a clinic and mingled with LPGA Tour player Lexi Thompson, media personalities Blair O’Neal, Notah Begay III and Holly Sonders, and PGA Tour players Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia.
When DeChambeau won last year, it immediately became evident that he would support Shriners Hospitals.
“Shriners Hospitals is honestly why we’re all here,” DeChambeau said in November. “They’re all such an inspiration. I’m very, very blessed and fortunate that I have great health, so to see (the Shriners kids) out here still persevering in their own way and being able to support and volunteer for the PGA Tour is more inspirational than me winning.”
Shriners Open tournament director Patrick Lindsey attended the foundation event.
“We admire Bryson DeChambeau’s passion and commitment to the Shriners Hospitals for Children, and having a past champion so engaged with the mission of the tournament has been a goal of the Shriners since they took over the event in 2008,” Lindsey said.
Stars on, off course
Former NBA player Gary Payton was at the new L.I.T. tavern at Las Vegas Golf Center on Friday night.
The golf notebook appears Wednesdays. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at @LVGolfInsider.
Upcoming area events
Saturday-Sunday: Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort Demo Day
Monday: WSNGA Team Play, Red Rock
April 3: WSNGA Desert Willow Invit., Desert Willow
April 6-7: SNGA Nye County Am, Mountain Falls
April 8: WSNGA Team Play, Canyon Gate
April 9: UNLV RAF Scholarship Golf Classic, Southern Highlands
April 15: UNLV Football Foundation golf event, Spanish Trail
April 15: SNGA Social Series, Anthem
April 17-18: IMG Junior World qualifier (ages 9-14), Boulder Creek
April 18: SNGA Tour, Aliante April 22: SNGA Team Play, Palm Valley
April 24: SNGA Rules Seminar, Siena
April 24-27: Derek Jeter Celebrity Invitational, Shadow Creek
April 27: Pima Medical Occupation Therapy tournament, Rhodes Ranch
April 28-29: Nevada State Women’s Partners, Mountain Falls
May 4: Jonathan Ogden Celebrity Classic, Reflection Bay
May 4-5: SNGA Boulder City Am, Boulder Creek
May 13: U.S. Open Qualifier, Las Vegas Paiute
May 23: SNGA Tour, Chimera
June 3: NV Energy United Way tournament, Red Rock.