A dozen years ago, Scott Harvey was living out his dream of playing golf professionally, and he hated it. Harvey was on a professional mini-tour, traveling all around the country and competing against several other dreamers like him.
The thing about dreamers, though, is that they aren’t always friendly, particularly in a setting where they’re competing against a field of people with the same dreams. So after a few years of traveling around with players who wanted to beat him on a weekly basis, Harvey quit, came home, and took over his dad’s driving range on High Point Road near Jamestown.
Away from the competition and back around his friends and family, Harvey discovered something about himself: He was happier.
A few years later he started to work in real estate, began to put together a decent living, and took up golf again. Soon, he started competing again, only this time in an amateur setting. He loved it. Now, he’s the best in the state.
Last month, Harvey secured his second consecutive Carolinas Golf Association player of the year honor in triumphant fashion, taking the North Carolina Mid-Amateur championship at Benvenue golf course in Rocky Mount. The N.C. Mid-Am is one of four majors on the CGA tour, and it was the second major Harvey won this year. He started the season with a victory at the Carolinas Mid-Amateur in April.
The next week, he represented North Carolina in the USGA State team competition in New Jersey. The three-person team, which also consisted of Yanceyville’s Bruce Woodall and Raleigh’s Paul Simson, took the lead after the first day. But when the three-day tournament ended, they finished ninth.
Regardless, it’s been a stellar year for Harvey, a year in which he clinched the player of the year honor (which is awarded using a point system) with several events remaining.
He is the first back-to-back CGA player of the year since D.J. Trahan won in 2001 and 2002.
“To see some of the other names on that award, like Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Jonathan Byrd, it’s an honor,” Harvey said, naming several people who’ve had successful professional careers.
Growing up, Harvey always saw pictures of his dad (Hall of Famer Bill Harvey) holding the trophy given to the winner of the Carolinas Amateur tournament. There were three of those photos. Bill Harvey was a three-time champion of the event (1964, 65, and 73).
Between his dad’s amateur career and the driving range, Harvey, now 34, was destined to become a golfer. And he did, starting a competitive career at Ragsdale High School and taking it to High Point University. After a few years at HPU, though, he began to believe he could make a living in golf. So he quit school and joined the mini-tour.
For a few years, he traveled all around the country, winning here and there, but never enough to hide this fact: “I was homesick,” he said. “In the mini-tour stuff, everybody seems to be miserable. Nobody’s having fun. It’s more of a grinding way to make a living.”
He came home. He worked at the driving range, Sedgefield Driving Range. And within a few years, he was in real estate. (Last year, the state purchased the driving range, with the intention of building a road through it.)
When he got back into the game of golf, Harvey set his sights on one particular tournament: He wanted to win the Carolinas Amateur. He finished second in the tournament in 2010. But he won it in 2011, on the way to that first player of the year honor.
“My dad had won the tournament three times,” Harvey said. “I’d seen all the photos with him. I wanted to have my name on that trophy, too. To be able to pick up the phone and call my dad, it brought tears to my eyes.”
Just after he started this season by winning the Carolinas Mid-Amateur, Harvey entered a U.S. Open qualifier in May. On the first tee, he started having flashbacks.
“I played with three pros,” he said. “I introduced myself and they barely spoke to me. They didn’t even want to talk about what kind of ball they were playing. It was a glimpse of what I didn’t miss.”
Harvey lost in a playoff to miss out on moving to the next round of the qualifying. It didn’t hurt his feelings too much.
He went back home and to work as a property manager. He has a son and a wife now, and he’s happy.
But every now and then, that competitive streak returns.
Take, for instance, the last day of the last CGA Mid-Am. After winning the first CGA major of the season, he played his way into the final group on the final day of the next two – the North Carolina Amateur in June and the Carolinas Amateur in July – but lost both of them.
So when he started the last day at September’s North Carolina Mid-Am in the final round, he began to wonder whether he could close.
He birdied two of the first three holes on the day and won by two strokes.
“I really wanted that one,” he said. “I led every tournament going into the last round. I won the first one, lost the next two, so I really wanted that one bad, to make a statement – to myself.”