He would prefer you view him as past-his-prime, no threat whatsoever, a pushover in a golf match. Harold Ogden likes to be called "Old Harold," better to perpetuate the myth his opponent need not bring his A game to prevail.
To say hello to him is to be reminded he's barely hanging on.
"Hey Harold, how you doing?" begets one of his stock responses.
"Oh, still taking nourishment," Old Harold answers.
Or: "Getting along OK for an old guy."
Pity the foe who falls for the ruse.
Rites of summer in Lawrence:
¢ A father driving his son home from a Little League game, urging him to keep his chin up, reminding him of the day he struck out four times in one night and bounced back with a great game just three nights later.
¢ A mother wearing sunglasses, trying to read a magazine pool-side while still not taking her eye off her daughter splashing up a storm.
¢ Ogden standing over a golf ball that rests smack-dab in the middle of the fairway 14 times a round after hitting his tee shot.
Complaining about the length of the rough is for others. It's not Ogden's concern. He keeps his ball in the short grass and can be sneaky long off the tee, especially for a man who affects an optimistic tone when he lets you know he's "still taking nourishment."
Ogden, 78, is a threat to break his age every time he pulls out of the driveway of his home on the 11th hole at Alvamar Country Club and works his way down to the clubhouse.
A check of ghin.com reveals Alvamar tracks his handicap index as 9.2 and Lawrence Country Club has it at 10.7.
It's been a particularly good year for Ogden. Not on the scorecard - rumor has it the poor guy hasn't beaten his age since doing so multiple times during the winter in Arizona - rather on the proud parent front. Harold's son, John Ogden, a few months ago was named head pro at Cherry Hills Country Club in Englewood, Colo.
Old Harold moved to Lawrence after former Kansas University golf coach Ross Randall signed him to a scholarship and John Ogden has made both men, who enjoy playing together at Alvamar, proud.
"That's really a neat deal," Randall said of his former pupil's prestigious assignment. "We're really happy about that. It's certainly in the top five or six jobs in the country."
Arnold Palmer has said his greatest single moment came at Cherry Hills in the 1960 U.S. Open. Trailing by seven strokes going into the final round, Palmer, before equipment added so much yardage to drives, drove the green on the 314-yard first hole to trigger a string of four birdies that led to a historic comeback.
John, who is married to the former Emily Johnston of Lawrence, isn't the only one in the family to enjoy athletic success.
John's brother Brad was a distance runner for Kansas State. Another brother, Dane, played basketball for Texas Christian University and recently took over Lenexa-based Ogden Leasing, Inc. from his father.
To watch Harold Ogden, a flexibility marvel, wrap the club way behind his head is to not have to wonder from where the athletic genes came for his three sons.
It pays to remember that when Ogden paints himself as a frail and feeble foe. Consider yourself warned.