An Ideal Way to “Retire”

At some point early in the ’70s, Jack Nicklaus talked with my father about the new course he was building in the Columbus suburb of Dublin (that later became known as Muirfield Village Golf Club), about his plan to launch The Memorial Tournament, and about his personal gratitude for the good work Dad had done with him. Then, Nicklaus asked my father a question that was both generous and very smart: Would Dad consider coming to Muirfield Village in the summers as the club’s Golf Professional-Emeritus and teacher-in-chief? Dad would set his own hours, teaching as much as he wanted, and he never would have to stick around for the cold and damp Ohio winters.

The Muirfield offer had no downside for my father. He was nearing retirement age, and this would be a wonderful opportunity for him to remain active without working full-time. Plus, he would get to return during the beautiful summer season to an Ohio city he had enjoyed a great deal. With the rest of the year free, he would be able to steal away to the milder climate of Florida. Jack Nicklaus had made an offer that could not be refused, so when the time was right Dad informed his colleagues at La Gorce Country Club that he was going to retire.

While never one to want a fuss made over him, my father was pleased to find that his friends and admirers at La Gorce weren’t about to let him just walk quietly into the night. In late spring of 1974, Jack and Barbara Nicklaus, the noted golf instructor Bob Toski, 1941 PGA Championship winner Vic Ghezzi, New York Yankees owner Dan Topping and scores of other La Gorce members and guests – including the reigning world champion backgammon player, Tim Holland – gathered for a send-off dinner for Dad and Mom in the main dining room of the La Gorce clubhouse, up the beautiful, broad staircase from the large sitting area on the club’s main level. Guests could hear live music as they entered the front door and were greeted by a display of photos of my dad, including some from his childhood in Oklahoma City and others from his days on the early pro-golf circuit with Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and other all-time greats. And there were, of course, photos of Dad with Jack Nicklaus.

With club president Harry Daumit as emcee, the evening was full of fun stories and tributes to my father, including warm statements by Nicklaus and Toski and some parting remarks by the guest of honor. There was dancing after dinner, and Dad was in high spirits, with my mother vibrant and beautiful in a lovely outfit with her hair pulled up in her signature style. At evening’s end, honorees Jack and Bonnie Grout, basking in the afterglow of the loving and appreciative sendoff by their many friends at La Gorce, went home to prepare for their next adventure, one that would last for the final fifteen years of my father’s life.


2 thoughts on “An Ideal Way to “Retire”

  1. Hello Dick. I always enjoy your blogs. I was wondering if I could get a lesson at your convenience. I have been playing since 1980 and would mainly like to get some ideas on improving my grip, setup and swing thoughts. Thanks again.

    Mark Rhodes

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  2. Hello Sir. I always enjoy your blogs. I was wondering if I could setup a lesson with you. I mainly would like some swing thoughts. look at my setup and grip. I have been playing since 1980 and currently have an 8.6 index. Thank you.

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