Thursday, May 03, 2012

An evening with Butch Harmon

   Were there a Mt. Rushmore of golf instructors, Butch Harmon would be there.

   Greg Norman. Tiger Woods. Ernie Els. Phil Mickelson.

   He's worked with them all and made each of them better.

   Harmon is 69 and still active, working the range with his clients at Quail Hollow this week. He still loves the people and the process, chasing perfection in an imperfect game.

   He invited a group of writers to dinner Wednesday night where he shared a glass or two of wine and a collection of stories that sounded like a first-person history of golf. The session was off the record, Harmon offering his unfiltered thoughts on people he's known and worked with.

   It could have lasted all night. Harmon, who is on the record saying Hank Haney's tell-all book about his time working with Tiger Woods violated an unspoken player-coach code, has a rare understanding of the game and what it does to the people who play it.

   The stories are funny. The insights telling.

   Harmon has a four-hour video -- 'Butch Harmon About Golf' -- that shares his teaching principles and, perhaps more importantly, includes his former students talking about their time with Harmon and what he did for them. It includes Woods, who sat down two years ago to talk about his relationship with Harmon, which included the Tiger Slam.

   The video, Harmon said, is his last big project. He can see retirement approaching and he wanted to share what's learned and the people he's known through the video.

    It doesn't come with dinner but it's the next best thing.