Visionary. Trailblazer. Father of the PGA TOUR. This was Bob Harlow, the man who packaged and promoted golf in this country into an entertainment business. What were innovations for Harlow are institutions today, ideas such as a year-round schedule, the concept of a volunteer system and the PGA’s Merchandise Show. “He was the one who really put it in some kind of order, setting up the basic framework that exists today,” said golf writer Al Barkow. He did this right after the Depression, selling golf not only as a sport, but as a product. He was the game’s first mover and shaker.
Harlow’s background was newspapers, but he loved the Theatre and reading Variety, the show business bible. As a youth, he had been a performer, and he married a woman who was a concert singer. His first connection to golf was through the management of Walter Hagen, but that was a no-brainer. Hagen was a showman, and Harlow wrote most of his material. It was a great marriage.