Far Ahead Of His Time

Back in 1950, when the game was not understood anywhere near as well as it is today, my father Jack Grout formulated an approach to the golf swing that rested on a mere handful of fundamentals. He concluded that “knowledge of all the fundamentals,” e.g., A Proper Grip, Set Up Correctly, Steady Head, Proper Footwork, Full Extension, and Quiet Hands, was the most important asset for any golfer, male or female, professional or beginner. Whether it was Jack Nicklaus, Raymond Floyd or Harry Hacker making appointments to borrow the high court of his fairway knowledge, they were all told the same thing.

While dad gave tireless attention to each one of these basic tenets, he felt strongly that the absolute first thing you have to master is a good grip on the golf club. As a youth and new to the game, I remember him driving home his point by laying this pearl of wisdom on me, “You can stand on the first tee of any golf course in the country and you won’t likely see a good player with a bad grip, nor will you see a bad player with a good grip.” .

To me, what’s interesting in all of this is Jack Nicklaus, dad’s most famous pupil, considered the grip to be “Not a Knotty Problem.” Saying in his classic instructional book Golf My Way, “I have never tied myself in knots concerning the way I hold the club.”  Nicklaus’ own feeling is that the spotlight should be focused squarely on dad’s three other fundamentals. Jack considered them the ABC of Grout’s method:

  1. The head must be still throughout the backswing and downswing.
  2. The key to balance is footwork-the correct rolling of the ankles.
  3. The young golfer should develop the fullest possible arc.

In any case; “the only way to play consistently good golf is through the mastery of this set of basics that the great players of the past have proved to be integral to the swing.” As far as my father was concerned, you can toss all the “tips” you hear into the garbage can.

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