The Coach who stands above them all?

May 12, 2013

By David Waldenstein of the New York Times

LEAVING GREAT ENOUGH ALONE

“The greatest coach of the 20th century performed his job so well, he made himself obsolete.

Jack Grout, the first and only instructor of Jack Nicklaus, believed that self-reliance was the key to golfers’ reaching their fullest potential. It worked for Nicklaus, who won 18 major championships and is widely considered the greatest golfer of all time.

Unlike today’s instructors, Grout never showed up on the practice tee with a video camera bag slung over his shoulder. He would have shuddered at the thought of becoming a reality television personality. Grout’s face rarely graced a PGA Tour practice range. Nicklaus said that he very seldom set foot on the practice tee at a tournament. When they got together for practice, Grout taught Nicklaus how to fine-tune his game, and when the major championships rolled around, he was often there but stepped back into the shadows.

 Far from trading on Nicklaus’ fame, he hardly acknowledged his part in it. Unlike today’s coaches, Grout never would have earned his own endorsement deals, unless it was for Wite-Out. In the galaxy of coaches, Grout was the Pistol Star, the brightest star in the Milky Way but totally obscured by dust clouds.”

 

4 thoughts on “The Coach who stands above them all?

  1. Dick, what a great quote and an aspiration we all should have to “performed his job so well, he made himself obsolete.” We all serve as teachers of sorts in life and have a responsibility to pass on what we have learned to those coming after us . . . hopefully leaving where we’ve been, better than when we arrived. Your dad sure had that impact on Mr. Nicklaus.

  2. For me back in Chicago, Mr. Joe Tivna, he ran a driving range, the old Scottish typical pro, years, decades later his words still ring true. The only feedback he needed where his eyes, and his ears. If he saw all this teaching stuff now, well. I can not print his verbal response, but, it would have been concise, and to the point, stay healthy, drive safely, CGG…

  3. Spot on. Makes me sad about the professional game has evolved. We could use a lot more Jack Grouts and Charlie Nicklauses in the world of sports today.

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