Golf magazine first came out with a list of the Top 1OO 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. Some-how the correlation between a tweedy Ph.D. and my golf knowledge was lost on me, so I never bothered to fill out the questionnaire.
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.
Harmon, 55, runs the Dick Harmon School of Golf at the Houstonian Golf Club in Richmond, Texas.