With success at both the collegiate and professional levels, the Dixie State College women’s head golf coach is passing on lessons learned from her experiences to her players as they kick-off the team’s inaugural season.
When head coach Rachel Harmon heard about the new program at DSC, the prospect of building a team from scratch—particularly in a golf hotspot like St. George—thrilled her.
“When they opened up the program I was like, ‘I have to be there; I want to be involved in this,’” Harmon said.
Being the first coach of the team wasn’t the only positive for Harmon. Harmon felt natural advancing her golf experiences here because she plays here during the winter season and makes frequent visits to her family’s condo.
Harmon was able to come into the position with two big advantages: collegiate and recent professional success, which includes being named a three-time All-American at Brigham Young University and finishing in the top-20 two times on the LPGA Futures Tour. Harmon said she wants to help her players reach the level she has by using lessons she has learned on and off the course.
Haley Dunn, a sophomore general education major from Layton, spent last year playing on Utah Valley State University women’s golf team. She said because Harmon is young and is still playing golf at a high level, she can take a different approach to golf than many other coaches.
“She puts things in perspective of when she played college,” Dunn said. “She is more of a player than a coach, which makes it easier to relate to her lessons.”
Harmon said because she can still do things she is teaching the players to do—walking the walk and not just talking the talk—she can aid them in going as far in golf as they want to go. Harmon said this was most likely the main reason she was hired, and her passion and success will push players to new heights.
McKenna Remund, a freshman biology major from St. George, said Harmon’s talkative nature makes it much easier to approach her and ask for advice. Remund said this season she wants to improve in all aspects of the game, and with Harmon’s coaching she can achieve her goals.
Building the team from the ground up has been much work for Harmon, but balancing golf and family has made things more difficult with a 20-month-old baby at home.
“I joke with the girls that I base where we will practice on where my babysitter is,” Harmon said.
Harmon’s supportive family has aided her in accomplishing the tasks of nurturing a young child and helping the team meet its potential. Harmon said without the sacrifices of her family and friends, particularly her husband, she wouldn’t have the experiences she has.
Looking to the season, Harmon said the team chemistry the players developed over the summer through Facebook and texting will transfer to practices and tournaments—where the young team is expected to compete for wins from the start. Team members took the initiative to get to know each other over the summer and arrived in August surprisingly close—though most of them hadn’t met in person.
Ultimately, Harmon said the long-term goal is to continue recruiting players who have positive, team-oriented attitudes. By bringing in the right players and assisting them in everything from course management to their swings, Harmon said the team will have its eyes on the ultimate prize: a national championship.
“Because of where we’re located and the caliber of players we can recruit, it is totally in our minds,” Harmon said.
The DSC women’s golf team begins the season on Sept. 24 in Phoenix.