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NCGA Noteworthy

Member Spotlight: Dave Harmon, One Cool Caddy

An avid golfer since high school, Harmon’s work eventually brought him to San Jose, with territory that included Murrieta in Southern California, where he once played nine holes with a 13-year-old named Rickie Fowler.

Scottie Scheffl er and Dave Harmon


hen Scottie Schef- fl er closed out Davis Riley 3 and 2 during the fi nal match of

the 66th U.S. Junior Ama- teur last July, the 17-year- old from Dallas hoisted a shiny national championship trophy. Off to the side and behind him stood a white- haired gentleman, smiling with slumped shoulders, shifting weight back and forth on blistered and aching feet. After all, Dave Harmon had just carried Scheffl er’s bag over the mountainous terrain of the 7,675-yard Tom Fazio-designed Martis Camp Golf Course near Truckee, at some 6,000 feet of elevation in California’s High Sierra. Harmon, who lives 70 miles downhill and west in the town of Cool, was a volunteer caddie. Adhering to the profession’s code, he showed up, shut up and did his darndest to keep up. Harmon packed Scheffl er to the title over eight days, 48 miles and 11 rounds of golf—and at the age of 73.

20 / NCGA.ORG / FALL 2013

Call it a Clydesdale performance.

While Harmon probably

won’t receive the USGA’s Joe Dey Award for meritori- ous services by a volunteer, it’s people like the Auburn Lake Trails Golf Club mem- ber who enable the orga- nization to run 13 annual national championships. In fact, without such volunteers as the soft spoken, modest and golf-loving Harmon, tournaments from the U.S. Junior to the U.S. Open sim- ply could not happen. Born in New York City and raised in Yonkers, Harmon graduated from prestigious Alfred University with a degree in ceramic engineering, today more commonly known as ma- terials science. After three years in the 101st Division of the U.S. Army, he joined a company that made industrial ceramic products, including wheels, linings for metal-melting furnaces, and semiconductor and medical device components.

Harmon and his wife Sylvia moved to a 2.5-acre spread in Cool about seven years ago, where they keep hors- es. Now, largely retired, he spends a good deal of time on the nine-hole Auburn Lake Trails course. As the club’s NCGA tournament chairman, he organizes 11 events a year, and was on a four-man team that qualifi ed for the 2013 NCGA North Valley Zone Championship, played at Del Monte and Quail Lodge on the Monterey Peninsula. Harmon got his fi rst taste of looping at the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur, at Lake Merced Golf Club near San Francisco. “It was the fi rst time I’ve been on a golf

32. In Dallas, Scheffl er broke a course record set by Hunter Mahan, and he was already committed to attending the University of Texas.

“This kid could go all the

way,” thought Harmon, who at the time didn’t fully appreciate what that meant as a caddie. The fi rst four rounds (two practice, two stroke play) went by without diffi culty. But during three days of 36-hole match play, Harmon began to feel the weight of the bag and steepness of the hills between greens and tees. His feet blistered, and a shoulder facing surgery two weeks after the event began to bark—Harmon postponed the operation so he could caddie. On the second 18 holes of the fi nal, Harmon was clearly gassed. “I was determined to

fi nish but slow to catch my breath going up fairways,” he said. Volunteers and patrons shouted encouragement—to

Without such volunteers as the soft spoken, modest and golf-loving Dave Harmon, tournaments from the U.S. Junior to the U.S. Open simply could not happen.

course of that nature, that in- teresting and beautiful,” said Harmon. His player didn’t get past the medal rounds, but the experience piqued his interest. “When I heard the boys were coming to Martis Camp, I put my name in as a volunteer caddie.”

After an email and check-

out from Scheffl er’s mother, Harmon had a bag. A Google search then revealed that Scheffl er was playing in his fourth consecutive U.S. Junior, had qualifi ed for match play in each of the past three years, and twice advanced to the round of

the caddie. And the pace gave Scheffl er, who admitted he plays too quickly in tight situations, the pause to think through shots, which helped him come back from 3 down in the morning. In the end, the Scheffl er-Harmon team won the national championship. So, would Harmon con- sider a caddie assignment the next time a USGA champi- onship comes to Northern California? “I wouldn’t mind volunteering again, but maybe in some other position,” he concedes. “As a caddie, I’m going to go out on top.” –Jay Stuller


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