Near the end of January 1930, a headline in the morning paper read, “Oklahoma Loses Dick and Jack Grout; Brother Pros Go to Fort Worth Club.” Though most of the Grout family had known of the news long beforehand, it was a bit jarring when they actually saw the account in the Daily Oklahoman. The story read:
“Dick and Jack Grout, brother professionals who ranked topmost among Oklahoma’s promising salaried golfers, will be lost to the state by Saturday, February 1st. The Grout brothers, both of whom are Oklahoma City products, announced … that they had come to terms with the Glen Garden Club of Fort Worth, Texas. Dick Grout will become professional and Jack will become his assistant on February 1.”
As Dick’s assistant, my father had a range of assignments around the club, but he also found a good deal of time to play and practice, sharpening his game for his burgeoning competitive career. It was just lucky for Dad that a couple of fellows named Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan were hanging around the club from early to late most days. Those two had first gotten to know one another during their nine-hole Glen Garden Caddie Championship match – won by Nelson – in December, 1927. As one of their prizes for that match, they were allowed to play and practice at times when the club wasn’t busy with member play.
Nelson and Hogan took full advantage of their playing privileges, and Dad would say later that he and the future golfing legends “palled around together and played golf quite a lot.” As it turned out, the friendship forged between the three men on the practice range and the nearly treeless course at Glen Garden would extend through their golfing lives, with Nelson and Hogan joining the ranks of the game’s best-ever players and Dad being a very good player but eventually becoming recognized as one of the game’s greatest teachers.