West Chester’s Hammond Recipient of Labron Harris Sr. Award
NORMAN, Okla. – Harry Hammond, Head Men’s Golf Coach at West Chester and a member of the Philadelphia PGA Section, has been named winner of the Labron Harris Sr. Award presented by the Golf Coaches Association of America in cooperation with The PGA of America. The Harris Award is presented to the college or high school coach and PGA Professional whose support of the game through teaching, coaching and involvement in the community has helped ensure the continued growth of the game of golf and who represents the finest qualities the game has to offer.
“To be selected by my fellow coaches for the Labron Harris Sr. Award is an honor that I hold as one of the most important awards that I have ever received,” said Hammond. “Mr. Harris set some very high standards as a PGA member, university coach and contributor to his community that I continue to strive to achieve in my profession everyday.”
A 53-year member of the PGA of America, Hammond took the coaching reins at West Chester in 2007. He was recognized as Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2015. Hammond has guided the Golden Rams to five straight NCAA Regional appearances. In 2015, his charges claimed both the PSAC’s conference championship and its top team GPA award. Since 2012 Hammond and West Chester have hosted the Dr. Edwin Cottrell Invitational, honoring the GCAA Hall of Fame Member. Additionally, Penn Oaks Golf Club, where Hammond serves as Director of Golf and part of the facilities ownership group, serves as the home course for West Chester’s men’s and women’s golf teams.
Hammond’s career in golf began in 1953 when he became a caddy at Kennett Square Golf & Country Club. Through caddying he paid for his tuition at Penn State before being hired full-time by the PGA professional at Kennett Square.
In 1963, Hammond accepted his first head golf professional position at West Chester Golf & Country Club, serving for six years. He moved to Whitford Country Club in 1969 where he remained for 38 years until he retired in 2007. In 2005, Hammond became an owner/partner at Penn Oaks Golf Club.
During his tenure at Whitford, the club’s junior program grew to 150 participats. Hammond also initiated a community youth teaching program in the Phoenixville, Pa., area. The program grew to two hundred juniors and due to its size led to the creation of an additional program in Thorndale, Pa.
Hammond has served the Philadelphia Section as an officer, committee chair and member of various section committees. He currently serves as president of the Philadelphia Section Junior Golf Foundation and member of the junior golf committee. Additionally, Hammond served on several PGA of America national committees and currently serves as an advisory board member for PGA Magazine. One of the highlights of his career was being invited to teach in 2011 and ‘12 at the PGA Ryder Cup Junior Golf Academy held in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Elected a PGA Master Professional in 1992, Hammond was selected as PGA of America Junior Golf Leader in 1999 and recipient of the Bill Strausbaugh Award in 2012. Hammond was elected to the Philadelphia Section Hall of Fame in 2001. He was named the Sections Merchandiser of the Year three times, Golf Professional of the Year in 1991, Junior Golf Leader four times and Bill Strausbaugh Award twice.
As a teacher, Hammond has introduced the game to hundreds of young golfers. Many of these juniors went on to successful college golf careers. Four times he has been named a U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Teacher and was recognized as U.S. Kids Master Teacher in 2012.
Hammond has also used golf to support local charities. While at Whitford Country Club, he initiated a pro-am tournament that benefited The First Tee of Chester County. For the last several years the pro-am has supported the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Chester County. Hammond has also supported the Chester County YMCA, The Arc of Chester County, Chester County Food Bank and United Way of Chester County.
Hammond has been married to his wife Sally for 45 years. His daughter Laura played for Penn State and currently serves as executive director of the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia.
Hammond follows in the footsteps of past Labron Harris Award recipients Jay Hardwick (Virginia Tech/Middle Atlantic PGA Section), Devon Brouse (Purdue/Indiana PGA Section), the late Rod Myers (Duke/Carolina PGA Section), Herb Page (Kent State/Northern Ohio PGA Section), Jim Brown (Ohio State/Southern Ohio PGA Section), Pat Owen (U.S. Naval Academy/Middle Atlantic PGA Section), Rick Pohle (Williams College/ Northeastern New York PGA Section), John Bermel (Northern Iowa/Iowa PGA Section), Pat Goss (Northwestern/Illinois PGA Section), Mike Small (Illinois/Illinois PGA Section), Mike Mayer (Indiana/Indiana PGA Section) and Puggy Blackmon (South Carolina/Carolinas PGA Section).