SPENCERVILLE — The first things that come to mind when talking about Spencerville athletics are its successful football and basketball programs.
Don’t look now but the boy’s golf team has started this season with a 23-0 overall record that includes a 13-0 beginning in the Northwest Conference.
Mike Harmon is in his 13th season as the coach of the Spencerville golf program. He is the owner of Swing Rite driving range and pro shop and also serves as the tournament director for the Lima Junior Golf Association.
The LJGA began in 1979 and is dedicated to giving young golfers a place to play and compete in addition to learning the rules of golf. They play tournaments, divided into age groups, at different courses designed to teach young golfers how to play competitive golf under pressure.
Two players who grew up in the LJGA, Harmon’s twin sons Ethan and Gavin, lead the Bearcats in scoring average with Ethan averaging 38 strokes and Gavin 39 strokes for nine holes of play.
Mike spoke of the highs and lows of coaching his sons, who are sophomores this year.
“It is more frustrating than you would think; it’s a different relationship than with my other athletes.” Mike Harmon said. “They sometimes take what is intended as coaching as criticism, but, the fun side is I get to be right with them when they are playing.”
The left-handed Ethan can’t remember life without golf.
“I feel like I was born with a club in my hand, I was playing in the LJGA when I was seven or eight.” Ethan stated. “I like the competitive part of the game, and I try to encourage my teammates with their scores.”
High school golf counts the low four scores as the team’s total so Ethan and Gavin are aware of the importance of their teammates’ scores.
Ethan also talked about playing for his dad as his coach.
“It is an honor to play for my dad; it is a lot of fun.” Ethan commented. “Dad is able to help me with my game.”
Gavin, who plays right-handed, also has early memories about golf.
“I think I was 4 or 5 years old and I was getting to know about Swing-Rite.” Gavin said. “I like the competitiveness and try to prove how I stack up against other golfers. I try to take my teammates out to practice and make them better every day.”
Gavin talked about having dad as his coach.
“It is so much easier when I am struggling, I can just ask dad for help.” Gavin said. “My goal is to try to win state and get that (state title) for dad.”
Ethan and Gavin will be joined for their senior year of high school by youngest brother Carson, who is in the seventh grad.
“He has very bright future.” Mike said of his youngest son.
With three Harmon brothers playing together in the future, Spencerville golf is looking very bright and athletic director John Zerbe is happy about it.
“The whole school is excited to see golf get attention due to their success.” Zerbe said. “Ethan and Gavin are both great kids who very well represent Spencerville schools.”
Zerbe was also more than ready to talk about Mike Harmon.
“Mike and I have been friends since we were 8 years old, we grew up three houses apart,” Zerbe commented. “We taught together until he went to Swing Rite. He provides a valuable resource for our kids. We are proud to have him as our head coach.”
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