Book Reviews

July 14, 2013

By Jenni Carlson

The Oklahoman

“But no coach at any level is more deserving than Jack Grout.

We all know what a huge impact Nicklaus had on golf, and if you read the new book on Grout, you’ll quickly see that his impact on the Golden Bear was every bit as profound.

“Jack never sought the public spotlight,” Nicklaus wrote of Grout in his forward to the book, “never sought to take any of the credit for my career tournament victories or for those of any of the other successful players he mentored.”

That doesn’t mean Grout doesn’t deserve credit.

Doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame either.”

July 13, 2013

By Jenni Carlson

The Oklahoman

“Dick Grout and his three siblings were aware of their father’s relationship with Nicklaus — the son occasionally accompanied the father to major championships to watch Nicklaus — but Jack Grout never made a big deal out of it.

Yes, he taught Nicklaus, but ultimately, Nicklaus and any other golfer who Grout tutored were the ones who had to go out and play the game and win the tournaments.

“My father never, ever forgot that,” Dick Grout said. “He would always give the credit back to them. I think it was because he himself had that PGA Tour playing background.”

So, even though he taught Nicklaus and gave lessons to Raymond Floyd, Ben Crenshaw and Gary Player among others, Jack Grout is largely an afterthought in sports history.

Dick Grout hopes his book helps change that. He hopes people learn about his dad’s extraordinary life. Hopes they realize what an amazing man he was.

He hopes you remember the late, great Jack Grout.”

June 17, 2013

By Carl B. Everett

Philadelphia Inquirer

“Grout believed that length off the tee was a most desirable skill, and his emphasis on it paid tremendous dividends for Nicklaus. Grout also stressed self-reliance. He wanted his students to know their games the way an auto mechanic knows cars so they could patch things up during rough spells.

In Nicklaus’ later years on the Tour, his sessions with Grout were largely tune-ups, focusing on fundamentals, as opposed to the wholesale swing changes of the sort famously attempted by Tiger Woods. Grout stands in stark contrast to many modern instructors with their one-size-fits-all approach to the golf swing. Much was said about young Nicklaus’ flying right elbow. One wonders whether today’s famous swing gurus would have tolerated such an unusual position.

Grout’s association with Nicklaus put him in great demand as an instructor/mentor. Raymond Floyd’s afterword recalls how he and his fellow pros would approach Grout on the practice range looking for that little tip that might propel them to victory. Grout simply loved teaching and touched everyone around him. His technique was to praise what was done well, emphasizing grip, posture, ball position, and keeping the head steady.

Grout also had a great eye for talent. The book recounts how Grout and several other pros encountered a young Fred Couples on the driving range. Said one, “What a lousy looking move.” Grout replied that Couples’ motion was “about as pure as you’ll ever see. And just look at the power it produces. Depending on what’s in his head and his belly, I think he could have quite a future.”

Grout, of course, was right about that, as he was about so many things. His son’s fond portrait is a worthwhile addition to a golfer’s library.”

June 15, 2013

By Tom Hanson

Naples Daily News

“Now, he’d like the golf community to do more than remember his dad, one of the game’s most prolific instructors.

Dick Grout is pushing for his father, Jack Grout, whose pupils have won 23 major titles, to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Dick Grout calls it a travesty that he’s not already there.

“It’s absurd,” Dick Grout said. “I know I am tremendously partial but how can there be a World Golf Hall of Fame without my father in it?”

To spread his message, Dick Grout wrote a book — with the help of part-time Collier resident Bill Winter — about his dad. The book: “Jack Grout: A Legacy in Golf” isn’t a traditional golf tale about swings and score cards. This is a story told through the eyes of a son, about a humble man who had a respectable career as a touring pro and a respected instructor to the pros and the stars. This is a love story, about Jack Grout’s passion for his wife and their four children. This is a golf history book and the impact one man made on the game.

“We tried to make it a human interest book,” Dick Grout said, “not just a golf book and not solely about sports, but about a wonderful person’s life.”

June 13, 2013

By Jimmie Tramel

Tulsa World

“Dick Grout invested eight years in the book and enlisted the help of journalists Bill Winter and Denny Dressman. Dick Grout said he dug into newspaper archives and family scrapbooks and supplemented personal recollections by talking to people who knew his dad. And if Jack Grout’s story is “new” news to some people, Dick Grout suggested that’s because his father did not market himself.

“He was quiet and he was shy to some degree,” the author said. “He was kind of a guy’s guy in that if you got him in the right situation when he could relax and start having fun with people, then he would go ahead and open up. Often, to get him to tell me some of his stories, I’d have to hound and pester him a bit. When I was a young guy growing up, I idolized my dad so I was around for a lot of those stories.”

The primary reason for writing the book? Dick Grout wanted a tribute to his father’s memory. A down-the-line reason is he wanted to draw attention to the fact that his dad is not in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Dick Grout said he is shooting for “the top of the heap” and would like for his father to gain inclusion in that distinguished group.

Nicklaus, who provided a foreword for the book, said it is mystifying that Jack Grout is not yet in the World Golf Hall of Fame. But he also said his teacher was too humble and too comfortable in his own skin to spend even one minute worrying about it.” Note: In 2016, Jack Grout was elected to the World Golf Teachers’ Hall of Fame. 

June 4, 2013

By Mike Bailey

Houston Chronicle

“The stories about Grout in Texas are chronicled in a new book, “Jack Grout – A Legacy in Golf.” It’s authored by Jack’s son, Dick Grout, a quarter-century member of the PGA of America and teacher who lives in Greenville, South Carolina. The son was named after his uncle, who in 1930 brought his younger brother Jack with him to Fort Worth’s Glen Garden Golf and Country Club, where the two would be head pro and assistant pro, respectively. Jack was just 19 at the time he met Hogan and Nelson, who played much of their early golf at Glen Garden.

As illustrated in the book and explained by son Dick and co-author Bill Winter, the best golfers in the world were coming out of Texas at the time. Perhaps it was the changing weather conditions they had to play in, but they were great ball strikers who learned their craft playing in wind, rain and heat in an environment unlike the pampered conditions pros often get today.”

May 29, 2013

By Bob Baptist

Columbus Dispatch

Memorial Tournament: Nicklaus, Floyd lobby to get instructor in World Golf hall

“Jack Grout, who met Nicklaus at Scioto Country Club in 1950 and was his only teacher for 39 years, took Floyd under his wing in 1974 and helped him win three of his four major tournament championships.

In a recent book on Grout’s life, Jack GroutA Legacy in Golf , Floyd said “there is a void” in the World Golf Hall of Fame because Mr. Grout is not in it.

Only two men whose careers were devoted mostly or wholly to teaching the game are enshrined in the hall: John Jacobs and Harvey Penick. Grout’s son, Dick, is hoping that the book, along with the support of former pupils such as Floyd, Nicklaus, Lanny Wadkins and David Graham, will persuade the selection committee to make his father the third.”

May 28, 2013

By Dave Shedloski

“So there’s Jack Nicklaus asking me about my putting. I guess you could say I  gave him a little lesson.”

Grout laughs at the memory. He has a lot of them when it comes to Nicklaus,  given that his father was Jack Grout, who was Nicklaus’ longtime teacher. The  younger Grout, who is now a teaching pro himself in Greenville, S.C., was the  most enthusiastic of the four Grout children when it came to golf, and through  the years he often engaged his father in conversations about his career, the  game and, yes, the Golden Bear.

He’s finally put all that information to good use. Released this week,  perhaps appropriately in conjunction with Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament, is the  book, “Jack Grout – A Legacy in Golf,” which Dick Grout wrote with the help of  former newspaperman Bill Winter. It is available at, and other  outlets.”

May 18, 2013

By Jim Witt

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Hogan and Nelson, as nearly everyone who knows anything about local golf history is familiar with, learned the game as caddies at Glen Garden Country Club, built in 1912. H.H. Cobb of the OK Cattle Co. decided to build Glen Garden because he was denied entrance into River Crest Country Club, at the time the only club in Fort Worth.

But, as great as they were, I was surprised to learn recently that neither Hogan nor Nelson was the best golfer with a connection to Glen Garden.

Jack Grout  just a couple of years older than Hogan and Nelson, was the assistant pro at the club in 1930. He would  go on to be the lifelong teacher of another golfer who became quite accomplished.

You won’t find that fact on the course’s  website, but it is detailed in a new book by Grout’s son, Dick,  a teaching pro, and Bill Winter, a veteran reporter and editor who spent 16 years as executive director of the American Press Institute, a leadership development center for the news industry.

Jack Grout, A Legacy In Golf is a fascinating account of his journey from pre-Depression days in Oklahoma to the fairways of south Florida, where he gave his final lessons before passing away in 1989.”

May 17, 2013

By Bill Livingston

Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Designed to make the solid case for Jack Grout’s inclusion in the World Golf Hall of Fame, the book is a wonderfully entertaining look at the early years of pro golf. (Grout, a good but not great player, once rode with Nelson and his wife from Texas to Los Angeles in Nelson’s Ford convertible, which had no roll-up windows, only curtains flapping in the breeze, and no heater. The occupants heated bricks each morning before beginning their drive, wrapped them in bags, and used them to heat the car).

There is so much colorful stuff (A dead-broke Demaret once won enough money playing checkers against “Wild Bill” Mehlhorn, a fellow pro, during a weather delay to pay his hotel bill) and flamboyant story-telling (Tour player Ky Laffoon once took a gun out of his car’s trunk and repeatedly shot his putter, screaming, “Take that, you SOB!” after a poor round with the flat stick), that the Grout-Nicklaus relationship really doesn’t begin until more than halfway through the 288-page book.”

May 12, 2013

By Kirk Bohls

Austin American-Statesman

“Jack Grout, A Legacy in Golf,” offers a truly fascinating read with terrific anecdotes about the late golf pro, who taught Jack Nicklaus for 39 years and even gave him a final lesson on his deathbed. His son and co-author Dick Grout (with Bill Winter) writes that he began teaching Nicklaus when he was only age 10 at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio. Grout loved Nicklaus’ nickname, Golden Bear, because “like the bear, big Jack was not inclined to leave behind many scraps for others.” Grout’s diverse pupils included everyone from four-time major champion Ray Floyd to actor Sean Connery, pitcher Jim Palmer and Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, the voice of the White Sox. … Sergio could have used Grout’s wisdom on the 17th hole at TPC on Sunday.

May 12, 2013

By David Waldenstein

New York Times

“The Coach Who Stands Above Them All?”


“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, Jack Grout never showed up on the practice range with a video camera bag slung over his shoulder. He would have shuddered at the thought of becoming a reality television personality. Nicklaus said that it was rare for Grout to set foot on the practice tee once a tournament began. When they got together for practice, Grout taught Nicklaus how to fine-tune his game, and when the tournaments rolled around, he 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.”

March 22, 2013

By Maggie Gust

Coastal Breeze News

Jack Grout: A Legacy In Golf

“Just under 300 pages, Jack Grout: A Legacy In Golf, is a valuable contribution to the history of golf as well as being a personalized account of the subject’s life. If you are ready to go back to a simpler, although not necessarily easier, time when life seemed sweeter and certainly was slower, settle in with this book. Meet Jack Grout and travel along with him as he discovers a passion for golf, forges lifetime friendships with the likes of Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan, when they were young and so was the game of golf. They were in it for the love of it and in following the tours, they helped each other out with the winners sharing the paltry sums with everyone, and had a rollicking good time along the way. A different world, indeed.”

Spring 2013
By Jimmy Apfelbaum
Golf Collectors Society Bulletin
“Reading The Greens”

“His most gifted student doesn’t appear until about half way in. By then, Jack Grout lived the rich and routinely itinerant life of a 20th century club pro scratching out a living, another year another club job, while trying his luck on tour when the money wasn’t much better than the job security.

“Jackie boy” Nicklaus was just one in a beginning junior class, though, notably, the first boy in the pro shop to register and the first of 75 to show up on the tee. “I’ve never seen a youngster practice golf like Jack Nicklaus did,” Grout would later marvel to his son, who would also become a PGA member. “High winds, mud, rain, we’d be out there. You’re going to play in it, you’d better practice in it.”

Nicklaus would recall his teacher this way: “He knew the golf swing probably as well as any instructor ever has. But I think his greatest gift to his students was his belief in them and his ability to get them to believe in themselves. He wanted you not only to be skilled technically, but also to be so confident of your skills that you could identify and fix your own swing flaws even in the heat of battle, even without him there by your side. In other words, Jack Grout worked to be dispensable. He wanted his students to be able to function at the highest level without him.” It’d be an enlightened approach today, but one shared by illustrious modern-era practitioners, to name two: Stewart Maiden and Harvey Penick.

Traditional and conservative, a natty dresser, dedicated to his members and students, Jack Grout embodied golf’s cherished values. He’d once caddied for Hagen, later traveled with Hogan and the Nelsons, and lived a purposeful life. When Nicklaus was voted “Player of the Century,” Grout warned against “getting a big head or anything like that.” But, “at the same time,” he added in a lovely letter, “don’t shrug it off either.”

By Jeff Silverman
Golf Books From 2012

“If the Grout name rings a bell, you get a gold star in your Nicklausology; as the pro at Scioto, Grout built the Bear, a fact featured prominently on the cover between the book’s subtitle and a photo of Jack N. hitting balls with Jack G. looking on. Penned by his son, “Grout” is a warm book with a wide reach. Of course, any and all insights into how Nicklaus came roaring onto the scene are always fascinating, but there’s more to Jack G. than Jack N. For example, when Grout’s older brother became head pro at Fort Worth’s Glen Garden in the early ’30s, Jack – as his assistant – regularly honed his own substantial game against a couple of local players who’d come up through Glen Garden’s caddie yard: Hogan and Nelson. There’s lots of golf history here, lots of tales from the game’s barnstorming heyday, and lots of lively lore on what goes into constructing a game – and a player — capable of winning 18 majors.”

December 6, 2012
By Jon Rizzi
A Pair Of Jacks

“Jack Nicklaus would not have won a record 18 major championships—and most certainly not the 1986 Masters—without Jack Grout, his “first and only” instructor. More than just the club pro at Scioto, where he met the 10-year-old Nicklaus in 1950, Grout was a four-time PGA Tour winner, frequent playing partner of Byron Nelson’s and Ben Hogan’s, and a highly innovative golf instructor. In Jack Grout: A Legacy in Golf, his son Dick Grout teams with newspaperman Bill Winter to tell the compelling story of a family man whose indefatigable devotion to his game left an indelible mark on it.”

October 25, 2012
By Jay Stuller
The Life and Legacy of Jack Grout

“In a rare look at the life of a country club golf professional and the nascent PGA Tour in the first half of the 20th century, a new book on legendary Jack Grout peels back time, offering generations who’ve never heard of him a revealing portrait of a pioneering tour pro and leading instructor. Legendary? Get this: Grout was Jack Nicklaus’ first and only instructor, starting in 1950 with the 10-year-old beginner in group lessons at the Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio, and until the Golden Bear won the 1986 Masters, his 18th and final Major. Take that guru cred and smoke it, Butch, Hank and Sean.”