Scott Harvey (Photo submitted)
In golf, a lot of things happen when you cross the threshold from your 30s to your 40s. One of those things is that you know your game better than ever. Los Angeles Country Club, the site of Scott Harvey’s latest victory on June 29 at the George C. Thomas Invitational, works the same way.
“It’s one of those places, every time you play it you like it more and more,” Harvey, 41, said two days after winning the amateur event at LACC for a fourth consecutive time.
Despite being an East Coaster, the Kernersville, N.C.-based player is just drawn to L.A. golf. He’s never done anything at LACC but win.
“Long story short, you have to think your way around and that really fits my game,” Harvey said. “I think that’s the strongest part of my game is the mental part of it.”
This is the theme to Harvey’s success over the past three months. Since late April, he has won two national amateur titles and the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball. Harvey could teach a class in mental fortitude on the golf course and off of it, though he laughs at that suggestion.
The first entry on that syllabus would read “perspective.” Harvey and wife Kim had their second son, Gavin, in October 2018. In a roundabout way, that opened the door for him to win his second George L. Coleman at Seminole Golf Club the following April.
There is maybe no closer bond in golf than the one between dads and sons. The memory of Harvey’s late father, Bill, is the driving force in Harvey’s amateur career. Raising his sons helps him relate.
Bill Harvey, who died in 2013 at age 82, won the senior division of the Coleman in back-to-back years in 1993-94, so naturally, the Coleman was the one that Scott Harvey always wanted to get. He did it for the first time in 2017, but only because he was able to loosen his grip a little bit.
“I had it built up on this pedestal, this special place,” Harvey said. “It’s this huge tournament. I always put so much pressure on myself. What I’m getting at is that when we had the baby last year, it gave me some perspective on here I am making golf out to be more important than it is.”
It’s not that Harvey can’t stay calm on the golf course, it’s that he finds himself wanting it too much. Time has eased that, too.
Like all golfers, Harvey had a list of goals. Some, like winning the U.S. Mid-Amateur (as he did in 2014) and making the Walker Cup team (2015), seemed almost too lofty to write down. Then there were the national amateur titles like the Coleman. Those went on the list and were checked off, too.
When the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball was introduced in 2015, Harvey and partner Todd Mitchell showed up to the first one at Olympic Club and fielded questions from a USGA writer. Harvey couldn’t stop looking at the new trophy and thinking about how much he’d like his and Mitchell’s names to be on it.
We are going to have our names on this trophy
, Harvey said, almost without thinking. It took five years, but it happened.
“This is my dad’s line to me as I’m growing up: ‘You’re good, you just don’t know how good you are. Once you start to believe it, then you’ll really see some success,’” Harvey said. “I’m not saying I fully believe it yet, but I understand what he was talking about now.”
Harvey has reached the point where everything on the list is checked off. It’s a Walker Cup year, and though one man on the 10-person team must be a mid-amateur, the idea that that man could be him is “way back there” in Harvey’s mind. Fatherhood is now at the forefront.
Cameron Harvey, age 9, is all in on golf. His dad recalls a recent phone call where Cameron excitedly relayed that he’d won a golf competition, and for doing so had received a box of golf balls. “Four-piece … composite golf balls…low-spin…,” the 9-year-old read over the phone.
“He has no idea what he’s talking about,” Harvey said, laughing at the story, “he’s just reading the box.”
The enthusiasm is there in a way that reflects Harvey’s relationship with his dad. When Harvey won the Mid-Amateur in 2014, a then 5-year-old Cameron clung tightly to dad’s leg once the trophy came out.
The family will be in tow again next month to watch dad compete at the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst Resort, roughly an hour and a half down the road from Kernersville. Harvey is exempt for the event courtesy of his 2015 Walker Cup selection.
Starts like the U.S. Amateur expose Harvey to the up-and-comers in golf. Next to college players and junior golfers, Harvey feels like every piece of his game still stands up. At 41, there’s just a noticeable difference in fitness.
“I feel like I can hit every shot they can hit,” Harvey said. “There’s no part of me that feels like I can’t, and that’s with every club. But I get tired, and I get tired quick.”
Every part of his body was sore after four days walking LACC for the George Thomas. This is something else that Harvey is not overthinking.
“That’s just the way it is,” he said.
If this is dad brain, then it’s working beautifully for Harvey.