The One That Almost Got Away

Seventy-five years ago, when my parents first got to know each other and, eventually, began making plans to become husband and wife, there were no such conveniences as cell phones, email and the other forms of electronic communication like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. When they were away from each other (which, during their courtship, was quite often), they developed and maintained their relationship the same way soldiers in the 1940s kept in touch with their wives and girlfriends back home. Their conversing was done the old fashioned way with a set of very basic tools: pen, paper and ink. Thus, Mom and Dad’s long-distance romance was built on letters.

Over a period of time, lasting twenty-plus months, a virtual rainstorm of mail passed between the two of them. Thankfully for our family, my mother saved all of the 113 letters, which she received from my father. Unfortunately, (if only for the sake of posterity), Dad destroyed all of hers because he felt they should be kept private. Anyhow, their scores of letters formed the foundation for their courtship and a marriage of more than forty-six years. Plus, as an additional benefit, I was able to collect valuable information from his correspondence, which we made use of in my book about Dad’s life: “Jack Grout, A Legacy in Golf.”

From my father’s letters, it was evident that he wasn’t inclined to talk about himself. Even as a young man, Dad was modest and unassuming. Consequently, when I read the following passage (in a letter to my mother written on stationery from the Hotel Knickerbocker in New York and dated September 23, 1941), “…we played in a one-day tournament yesterday which I won,” it came as no surprise to me that I had not ever heard my father speak of this accomplishment of his. It did, however, bewilder and exasperate me that, no matter how much I researched it, I could not gain any knowledge, whatsoever, about this particular tournament.

That was the case, until recently, when I received a phone call from Jeff Silverman, author and contributing writer at Golf World magazine. Jeff let me know that he was in the process of compiling the Centennial book (1916-2016) for Gulph Mills Golf Club, an exclusive country club located near Philadelphia, PA. And, he wondered if, by chance I might know anything about a one-day tournament held in the autumn of 1941 that Jack Grout won. Eureka! Once he told me what he knew, I combined that with what little I knew. And, “now (after reading the enclosed articles) you know the rest of the story.”

 GM 25th Anniversary Pro-Am

Gulph Mills

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