One after another, golf balls jumped off of Lucas Glover’s club and cut through a misty, humid air until they landed harmlessly onto the turf of the practice range at the Golf Club of Houston.
At the conclusion of every swing, Glover banged his club against his golf shoe to knock off the wet grass, then he hit another.
To Glover, the world is the Dick Harmon Learning Center.
From where he stood on the practice range, had Glover walked perhaps the length of a good par 5 he would have been at the entrance of the Dick Harmon Learning Center. But then again, he didn’t need to.
To Glover, the world is the Dick Harmon Learning Center. That is how expansive were the man’s teachings and how much he meant to Glover.
“There are good memories here,” Glover said. “I hit a bunch of balls at the back of the range here.”
Introduced to Harmon when he was in his early teens, Glover would travel from South Carolina to Houston to hone his golf skills under the tutelage of the third-oldest of Claude Harmon’s four sons. At first, Dick Harmon’s base of operations was River Oaks, then he moved over to the Golf Club of Houston, but it never mattered which range was being used; so long as there were balls to hit and Dick Harmon’s wisdom in his ears, Glover was happy.
“For 14 years I worked with him. He was my mentor when it came to golf. Outside of the family, he was definitely a father figure for me.”
You’ve probably heard that life isn’t fair and endlessly we could offer examples. Here’s just one: Dick Harmon died suddenly in February of 2006 at the age of 58, just months after Glover’s first PGA Tour win, but he didn’t live to see the glory of that 2009 U.S. Open. Glover did his teacher proud in demanding conditions at Bethpage Black and to this day he remains thankful for all he was blessed with.
“He made me feel like a Harmon and the rest of them have, too, from Butch to Craig to Billy (the three remaining brothers) and Claude III (Butch’s son). It’s still a lasting relationship because they’ve been nothing but great for me.
“If it’s possible, they’re better people than they are teachers.”
Glover, 36, will use his time at the Shell Houston Open to catch up with two of Dick Harmon’s sons (“They were like brothers to me,” he said) and to continue his diligence toward his PGA Tour career. In a world that is increasingly more superficial and dominated by self-promoters, Glover remains a study in the greatest of all character assets — he takes ownership. There’s no bull, no nonsense, no excuses with Glover and always he feels the presence of Dick Harmon in his life. Especially here at the Golf Club of Houston.
“Looking back, one thing I always admired about Dick was how he treated the people who worked for him,” Glover said. “He always said at the end of the day you have to treat everyone the same, it was how you treated the little people. It always stuck with me.”
Glover has dozens of fond memories of Dick Harmon, but one story stands out.
“He gave all of his old teaching shoes to Red (who worked) down in the bag room. Not because he had to, but because he wanted to. The first time he did it, Dick went downstairs and asked Red, ‘What size shoe you wear?’ Red said, ‘I wear your size, pro.’ ”
Glover laughed. Good memories, indeed.
Then he pushed a ball forward with his club, waggled, and sent a shot spiraling through the warm, wet air. Not because he had to, but because he wanted to.
His coach was watching.