Jan. 12, 2005 – Craig Harmon, PGA Head Professional at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., has been named the 51st recipient of PGA Golf Professional of the Year, the highest honor bestowed by The PGA of America on a PGA Professional.
A resident of Rochester, N.Y., Harmon, 58, is in his 33rd year at Oak Hill Country Club, and is the first member of the Western New York PGA Section to be so honored. He will be recognized at The PGA of America Awards Program, Jan. 28, 2005, during the PGA Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Center's Linda W. Chapin Auditorium in Orlando, Fla. The program will feature all 2004 national award winners.
A native of New Rochelle, N.Y., Harmon grew up in one of America's heralded golf families. Guided to the game by his father, Claude, a premier instructor and the 1948 Masters Champion, Craig witnessed his father's innate ability to connect with both the game's finest players as well as amateurs, building lifelong relationships and enhancing one's teaching skills.
Like his father, Harmon became a skilled instructor and a skilled mentor of young people and the most influential employment chairman for the Western New York PGA Section.
"There have been two moments in my career that I count as very special," said Harmon. "The first was in 1972 when I got a call that Oak Hill Country Club was selecting me as its head professional. That gave me the opportunity to further myself in golf. The second moment was when I was named PGA Golf Professional of the Year. This honor is very humbling, because it says that my fellow PGA Professionals have deemed a job well done."
Harmon attended the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Calif., and San Jose State University in San Jose, Calif., before joining the staff at the Lakeside Golf Club of North Hollywood, Calif. from 1969 to 1971. He then spent a winter at Thunderbird Country Club in Palm Springs before he was named PGA head professional at Oak Hill Country Club. From that call to service at Oak Hill in March of 1972, Harmon has gone on to become one of the country's most influential and respected PGA Professionals.
In its most recent listing, Golf Digest voted Harmon the 24th best teacher in America and GOLF Magazine lists him along with his three brothers -- Butch, Dick and Billy -- on its top 50 roster of the nation's foremost golf teachers.
During the 2003 PGA Championship -- one of six significant or major championships conducted at Oak Hill the past 23 years -- Harmon became the 35th inductee into the club's Hill of Fame. He joined a list of past honorees that includes Walter Hagen, Ben Hogan, Bob Hope and former U.S. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Gerald Ford.
"Teaching is the most rewarding thing we can do in our business," said Harmon. "We actually get a chance to help someone with their game and their smile is our tremendous award. The modern professional should make teaching their top priority."
Harmon is a four-time Western New York PGA Teacher of the Year (1986, '91, '95, 2002), the 1983 Section Golf Professional of the Year and was the 1993 Section Horton Smith Award winner. He also enhanced his teaching reputation by serving as co-chairman (1994) and chairman (1996) of the PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit.
Harmon and his wife, Sandy live in Rochester, N.Y., and are the parents of four children: son, John, 31, a daughter, Liz, 28, and sons Joe, 25, and Ben, 16.
Other award winners: Hank Johnson (Teacher of the Year), Ralph Bernhisel (Horton Smith Trophy), Paul Reinking (Bill Strausbaugh Award), John Godwin (Junior Golf Leader), Michael Harmon (Merchandiser of the Year – Private), Greg Villeneuve (Merchandiser of the Year – Public), Paul Earnest (Merchandiser of the Year – Resort).
Source: The PGA