As the Third round of the Masters kicks off and I slowly recover from my jet lag, I can’t help but look back on my last week at Butch Harmon Floridian as a highlight in my golfing life to date.
As my trip began I left Dubai Airport early on Sunday morning, on route to Fort Lauderdale Florida. The Butch Harmon School in Florida is home to Claude Harmon III who coaches some of the best players in the world, including the world number 1 Dustin Johnson, and Ryder cup star Brooks Koepka. The purpose of the trip was twofold for me, first of all I wanted to watch Claude (who has been a friend and a mentor for a long time now) teach a variety of players, and secondly see how the best players in the world prepare for a major.
The golf School
As you walk into the golf school at the Floridian you are immediately hit by the sense of history in an extremely modern environment. On the immediate left is 4 scorecards belonging to Claude Harmon senior from when he won the masters in 1948, as you pass the entrance you begin to see the gym, putting studio and 2 outstanding full swing studios. Scattered across the walls are pictures of Claude Harmon senior that were published in golf illustrated, not to mention some amazing special pictures from the history of the Harmon Family
The golf school is filled with the latest and greatest technology available in golf instruction today from the basics of 4 camera studios, to trackman and some useful biomechanical tools such as k – vest and Bodi Track which measures body movements and foot pressure throughout the swing.
Alongside the top of the line technology is top of the line fitting equipment. The putting studio is decked out with every model of Scotty Cameron available today. Also one of my favourite pieces is a rare scotty Cameron loft and lie machine that sits in the corner of the putting studio.
The Floridian itself is simply outstanding! From the moment you arrive at the club you realise it’s a special place. As you arrive to the clubhouse it gives you an Augusta-esque feel with the white façade and the green rooftop. Each group is provided a caddy and there is no tee times or rules related to how many people can play in a group. The golf course is top notch with some fantastic features such as dog leg par fives with demanding tee shots, to risk reward short par 4’s that you can attack and make birdies and eagle should you get it right
Without doubt one of my favourite parts of the trip was being able to watch Claude teaching a wide variety of players from high handicap golfers to the number 1 player in the world. One of the most obvious things you will realise if you are ever to have a lesson with Claude (which I would Highly recommend to anyone) is that it is simple, to the point and effective. He knows the purpose of coaching is not to sound smart, but to make the player better….. and he most certainly does that!!
Despite having all the technology in the world it does not necessarily mean you need to use it during lessons. Training aids, technology and simple video is used where needed, and not necessarily during every lesson. Claude is as likely to pull a medicine ball and a band out of the gym to use during a lesson as a Trackman and a K-Vest
Dustin Johnson (World Number 1) and Brooks Koepka (PGA Tour winner & Ryder Cup Player) were both at the Floridian throughout the week to prepare for this week’s US Masters. It was great to watch both exceptionally talented players show so much power, yet have the golf ball under so much control.
The greenkeepers rolled the green at the golf school specifically to replicate the speed that the players would face at Augusta and it is simply indescribably just how quick they actually are. In fact at times they can simply make you look silly, you could very easily knock a putt off the green when you are less than 4 feet from the hole. Experiencing that kind of speed on a putting green really makes your respect just how good these guys are. The standard they play and compete at week in week out is simply special!