Jack Grout – A Legacy in Golf

August 2012

“Jack Grout – A Legacy in Golf” – written by the subject’s son, Dick Grout, in collaboration with Bill Winter, a veteran reporter, editor and newspaper industry executive – fills a long-standing gap in the published history of the game of golf. It is particularly well timed now, with Tiger Woods’ quest to break Jack Nicklaus’ record for major tournament victories seemingly in jeopardy.

“Jack Grout – A Legacy in Golf” begins with Jack Nicklaus, surrounded by the rubble of his once-peerless golf game, calling out to his career-long coach for help, even as that aging and frail man recovered from heart surgery. It tells of that call resulting in a single lesson that would lead, just one month later, to Nicklaus’ dramatic charge to the 1986 Masters title, the final “major” victory of his career.

“Jack Grout – A Legacy in Golf” follows the journey of young Oklahoman Jack Grout through the rollicking and hardscrabble days of the early pro golf tour. Then it explores, in detail never before written, the instructor-student relationship that propelled Nicklaus to the top of the golf world. It allows the reader to eavesdrop on Nicklaus and Grout on a series of practice ranges in Ohio and Florida where they talked golf, family, and life. And, it concludes with Nicklaus and Grout settling into a warm and rewarding friendship even as Grout teaches four-time major-tournament winner Raymond Floyd and numerous other great players well into his late seventies.

Jack Grout’s adventures in golf stretch from Nelson to Nicklaus, spanning seven decades.  Rarely has a sports book of any kind provided such an extensive array of inside stories on so many legends from so many eras – not only from the world of golf but also from stage, screen and the business world.

Yet, while the game of golf plays an important role in this book, “Jack Grout – A Legacy in Golf” is not just a sports narrative. It is, rather, the warm, often-funny and always-appealing story of a humble man who:

  • Discovered golf in the boom town of Oklahoma City almost a century ago, came to love it through work in the colorful milieu of the caddie yard, and decided by age ten that his life would be devoted to playing and teaching the sport;
  • Toured the country in drafty, rattletrap cars to play the pro tournament circuit with golfing legends Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Jimmy Demaret, Sam Snead, Henry Picard, Gene Sarazen and many others;
  • Slogged with quiet determination through the hardships of the Great Depression and World War II, working as a club pro and contributing to the war effort by playing charity matches with the likes of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby;
  • At a country club in Columbus, Ohio, in 1950, met a ten-year-old aspiring athlete named Jackie Nicklaus and began a decades-long teacher-pupil relationship that would transform the eager kid into the greatest champion the game of golf has ever known.

Jack Grout – A Legacy in Golf is, really, a story about the power and the beauty of human relationships, and particularly the special relationship between an extraordinary teacher and his most famous student.

It is important to note that Jack Grout’s life and his work with Jack Nicklaus and other legendary golfers has not previously been the subject of a book-length treatment. Scores of articles and books have offered small slices of the story. But Jack Grout – A Legacy in Golf is the first expanded look at the lifestyle of this fine man and the deep impact he had as one of the game’s greatest teachers.

Because they agree that this omission from the body of golf literature needs to be corrected, Jack Nicklaus and Raymond Floyd have cooperated enthusiastically with the authors, both granting interviews and providing written testimonials concerning their relationships with, and admiration for, Jack Grout. Also cooperating were Ben Crenshaw, Lanny Wadkins, David Graham, Jack Burke Jr., Bob Toski, Jim Flick and many other leading golf figures that were taught or otherwise influenced by Grout.

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The completed full manuscript (288 pages, including Appendix and Index) was made available for distribution in October 2012 by Cardinal Publisher’s Group/Blue River Press.