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Kevin Fiddler: Butch Harmon's School of Golf instructs aspiring golfers from around the nation

By Kevin Fiddler,

Butch HarmonExcellent golf comes at a price, especially when a golfer wants to become the best.

Buried within the bright lights of the Las Vegas valley sits Butch Harmon's School of Golf, located at the Rio Secco Golf Club. If the name Butch Harmon sounds familiar, it's because Harmon has become arguably one of the world's most popular golf instructors since David Ledbetter began schooling aspiring golfers a few decades ago.

The name still doesn't sound familiar? Harmon is also the private golf instructor for a little known golfer by the name of Eldrick "Tiger" Woods.

"As a golfer, it's an honor for me to work with someone like Butch Harmon," said former collegiate golfer Jeremy Anderson, who trains at the school on a regular basis. "He's so renowned that he's got hundreds of people calling each day to work with him."

While holding court with Harmon for a personal lesson costs a little more than your average golf instructor (three-day lesson packages cost $4,800), his past and present students have no problems putting their trust in the golf instructor's sage advice.

Golf Instructor Butch Harmon"I've always loved to teach and it's something that I have always wanted to do," Harmon said. "I'll be 60 years old this year, so I'm not getting any younger but I'll probably never not teach. I feel very comfortable in my position in life and I'm very happy with the way things have worked out. I have been a very fortunate person because of the great game of golf to be able to travel all over the world and meet some wonderful people."

Harmon has called the Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson, Nev., his home since 1997 when he opened the popular school to the public. Teaching packages from the school generally include intense instruction from Harmon and his handpicked staff professionals, computerized video analysis and on-course playing lessons on the beautiful Rio Secco course, which was named as one of the top courses in the world by GOLF magazine.

"Video is wonderful for the students because it reaffirms what you are telling them," Harmon said. "It lets them see instantly the things you're trying to tell them and it makes it easier for them to accept change because in reality, feel and real aren't necessarily the same thing. I can tell you that you are doing this and that and then I can show you on the film. It makes it easier to understand. My philosophy in teaching is I try to get the best out of what an individual does. I don't want to change what they do naturally. I want to improve on it."

Butch Harmon School of GolfRanked as one of the top 100 golf teachers in the world by GOLF Magazine in February, Harmon has coached a handful of the world's best golfers including former No.1-ranked golfer Greg Norman, Justin Leonard, Mark Calcavecchia, Darren Clarke, Jose Maria Olazabal and most notably, Woods.

"I probably will always be linked with being the guy who taught Tiger Woods," Harmon said. "That's probably isn't fair either because I took Greg Norman to the No. 1 spot in the world and I have had success with other players. But Tiger is the greatest player who ever played and from the 10 years that we have been together, I probably will be linked to him that way."

Harmon has even taught kings when in 1971, he began personally teaching King Hassan II in Morocco at the Royal Dar Es Salam in Rabat.

Butch Harmon School of Golf"It was great because I moved to Morocco when I stopped playing on the PGA Tour in 1971 and I lived there until 1975," Harmon said. "It was just a wonderful and a great experience. King Hassan II was probably the greatest man I have ever met in my life. He probably did more for me understanding life in many different ways and seeing it from many different perspectives than anyone in the world. He was probably the most influential person, other than my father, on my life."

As an instructor at the school, Harmon strives to make simplify a game known for being extremely complex.

"The one thing I learned from my father is to make it as simple as possible," Harmon said. "Golf is a difficult enough game and we don't need to confuse our students. My dad had a great line, he said 'You need to teach golf at a second-grade level,' meaning a person in second grade could understand what you're saying. They learn easier and they don't get their mind cluttered. That's been my philosophy and it has been a successful one so I am going to keep on doing it."

Thus endeth the lesson.

Golf Instruction at Rio SeccoButch Harmon's School of Golf
2651 Grand Hills Dr.
Henderson, NV 89052
(888) 867-3226
(702) 777-2444
Web site: butchharmon.com

School Rates: (Note: Rates vary, depending on season)

Three Days with Butch Harmon
$4,800 per person which includes:
4 nights accommodations at Rio Suite Hotel Casino
Three days of instruction with Butch Harmon and his Staff Professionals
Computerized video analysis
On course playing lesson at Rio Secco each day
Lunch each day of the school

Three Days with Staff Professionals
$2,800 per person which includes:
4 nights accommodations at Rio Suite Hotel Casino
Three days of instruction with the Staff Professionals
Computerized video analysis
On course playing lesson at Rio Secco each day
Lunch each day of the school

Transportation is provided between the Rio Hotel/Golf School.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • thank you

    lisa wa;sh wrote on: Jun 2, 2010

    I loved my opportunity to come to Butch Harmon golf school when I won the Buick contest with Tiger Wood in 2000. I learned alot and still continue to read Butch's book abd watch his video. I jope to come back for a refresher some time. On June 23 I am auction chair for our club (Burlington Golf Club) Rally for the Cure/Arnies Army tournament. We are having a silent auction for golfers and non golfers after the tournament. I was hoping Butch might be willing to donate a book or video. Anything would be great. My address is 221 Jefferson St. Burlington, Ia.


  • Over the top golf swing

    Frankie C wrote on: May 10, 2009

    I'm going to take the time to write to as many golf teachers (or as many as possible before the back nines of Tiger's and Lorena's bids to win their respective tournaments from 5 shots back) to ask this question.
    As far as I know, my Over The Top Golf swing is the only method available that teaches you how to swing over the top correctly instead of trying to fix the renowned swing flaw.
    It has been said that 80% of all golfers swing from over the top and most instructors concede that they always will. As no golf instructor is willing to admit that they really can't help these (mostly) 15-35 handicappers, what, from a practical standpoint, can you do for them?
    Frankie C
    Over The Top Golf