Harry Horton, Golf’s All-Time Gentleman…

Garnet & Harry, two love birds forever...

Garnet & Harry, two love birds forever…

The world lost a dear soul today and Heaven is more special with Harry Horton teeing off there late this afternoon, embracing his new life. If you knew Harry Horton you knew that he transcended both worlds- a generous soul, always thinking of others and the truest gentleman I have ever known. My heart goes out to his widow Garnet who, like the precious gemstone, is the pretty version of Harry (not that he wasn’t a handsome man) with such a loving and gentle spirit. Their love for each other was so special that all in their presence felt it. I remember the crystal ball that hung over their kitchen sink, how it radiated all the colors of the rainbow. Their love was like that, it made everyone feel accepted and special.

The Three Musketeers in knickers!

The Three Musketeers in knickers!

I remember the day I met Harry walking out to join his group at Cherokee CC in Madison, Wisconsin. I went there after meeting Dick Donovan, the world’s foremost bibliographer of golf’s written word and being introduced to the Golf Collector’s Society (GCS). As I reached the par-3 fifth hole I saw this gentleman in knickers sink a 25-foot putt for a deuce with a hickory-shafted putter. From that moment on Harry and I knew we were “kindred spirits” as we share the same day of birth- the 15th of October. His birth year was the same as my mother’s- 1924. We would all be blessed to live the 89 years of life like Harry Horton did. God bless him and his dear departed soul tonight.

I just did a search on my PC for Harry and the list is rather long. Soon after we met there was the road trip home from the GCS show in Dayton, Ohio in January with the Horton’s and Joe and Elaine DeWulf. I drove Joe’s van and we had a merry time even though it was a few weeks after Christmas.

Harry Horton, Mr. Hickory Golfer.

Harry Horton, Mr. Hickory Golfer.

There was the time Harry flew to my hometown of Binghamton, New York. Why? Just because he was my friend and wanted to see my hometown and the golf course I grew up on- Ely Park Municipal Golf Course. We spent time with Dick Donovan and my brother “LP” who is a Cornell University golf course architect, trained in the same curriculum as Robert Trent Jones Sr. We played one of the golf courses Larry redesigned. What fun we had- four amigos- the book guy, the hickory club guy, the architect and me!

I read once that there is an old Chinese proverb that every 40 year old man needs an 80 year old man for a friend and every 80 year old man needs a 40 year man for a friend. Harry and I are 35 years apart and having known him for the last twelve years I could not agree more.

Harry was the world’s foremost restorer of Hickory-shafted golf clubs. I can go on-and-on but will let the pictures do a little talking too.

Harry Horton taught me a lot about restoring hickory clubs and a lot more about how to live and enjoy life. Good bye for now, I love you!

Harry Horton taught me a lot about restoring hickory clubs and a lot more about how to live and enjoy life. Good bye for now, I love you!

Of course there are tears and sadness tonight but more importantly there is an overwhelming sense of gratitude for having known Harry Horton the way I and many others did. There is that old golf joke about there being good news and bad news. The good news is that there are unbelievable nice golf courses in Heaven. The bad news is that you have a tee time tomorrow morning. If that is God’s will for me then so be it as I look forward to teeing it up some day with Harry, my dad and Uncle George among others. But until then, when I can (are there Scottish pubs in Lima Peru?), I will find a Guinness and toast my dear friend and kindred spirit Harry Horton.

The “Journey to Olympic Golf” started at the Glen Echo Country Club in St’ Louis playing with my hickory clubs (rather Harry’s). This journey has always been inspired by Harry’s love of golf and life. In fact one the earliest versions was to have Harry and Jack Fleck join in on the hickory golf kickoff. So let’s make it official, this “Journey to Olympic Golf” is hereby officially dedicated to Harry Horton!

God Bless you Harry Horton and a big hug to you Garnet!

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