The pros began coming to St Augustine for the Best-Ball Match Play Championship in 1935. The tournament was played on the old St Augustine Links and was an integral part of the PGA winter tour for a number of years.
In 1941, the 36-hole qualifying round was so fast and the scores so low that it took a 139, five strokes under par, to make the championship flight. Leo Walper, pro from Washington DC and Dick Chapman, who was the National Amateur Champion, won the medal with 64-65-129. Jack Grout and his amateur partner Frank “Pooch” Allan shot 67-66-133 for second place among the 32 qualifying teams.
For the first several rounds of the tournament, all matches were 18 holes. In round 1, the team of Grout-Allan defeated journeyman pro from Hagerstown, Maryland named Rut Coffey and his amateur partner Robert ‘Skee’ Reigel from Glendale, California. During round 2, the adversaries for my father and his partner were Lloyd Mangrum and Morton Bright; whom they outlasted in a struggle of 23 holes. In the quarterfinals, dad’s team eliminated Willie Goggin from San Francisco, CA and Jennings Gordon by a measure of 3 & 2. Their winning ways continued in the 36-hole semi-finals where they annihilated long-hitting Jimmy Hines and Mel Demarais by the score of 9 & 8. Waiting for Grout and Allan in the final match were Sam Snead and his partner Wilford Wehrle. Their spine tingling match was hard-fought and stood all-square when they reached the last tee. Wehrle hit the shortest drive and was first to play his second shot to the green. When his approach shot stopped about five feet from the flagstick, Snead was heard to exclaim, “Boy, you’re my honey.” When Snead’s partner sank his birdie putt the match was over. For his efforts, dad was presented a check for $500. Snead walked away with $1000.
In 1942 during the Miami International Four-Ball held at Biltmore G.C. in Coral Gables, FL., Jack Grout and his partner Ben Loving scored these upsets on their way to the tournament final: Won first round, 1-up vs. Jimmy Demaret and Lawson Little; Won quarter-final round, 1-up (37 holes) vs. Ky Laffoon and John Revolta; Won semi-final round, 1-up vs. Jimmy Hines and Willie Goggin.
Monday, June 3 1946 – The Philadelphia Inquirer : 48 golfing sharp-shooters were at Manufacturers Golf & Country Club in Ft. Washington , Pennsylvania to take aim at qualifying for the U.S. Open Championship which was being held at Cleveland ’s Canterbury Country Club.‘Ed (Porky) Oliver and Jack Grout are going back to Canterbury (the Championship was held there in 1940) next week “for another crack” at the National Open title. Oliver is going back as the front man of the eight who won their badges of admission, having led the Philadelphia district with shining rounds of 69-67 for 136. Howard Everitt, former pro and the only amateur to qualify, was Oliver’s closest rival, three shots back. The home club’s star, the morning leader, had 68-71-139. Aided by an ace on the 165-yard 4th hole, where he used a No.6 iron during his second round, Jack Grout, Harrisburg Country Club’s Oklahoma-born pro, placed third with a 71-69-140. Stewart (Skip) Alexander of Lexington, NC and Charles Schneider of Lu Lu Temple tied for fourth place; Joe Kirkwood of Huntington Valley scored 142 for sixth spot; Matt Kowal of Philmont took seventh with 145; and George Fazio, 146, snagged the final place in a six-way “sudden-death” playoff.’
With the war finally over and all the pros back home, the 1946 U.S. Open at Canterbury was a celebration as much as anything. Craig Wood, then 44 years old, had the odd distinction of being the defending champion five years removed, having won in 1941 at Colonial in Fort Worth . While my father was in Cleveland on June 13-16 for the championship, he stayed at the comfortable home of Henry Picard. Picard was in his first season as the head pro at Canterbury . He believed with the tournament being played there, he had a good chance to finally win it. He eventually finished in a 12th place tie and later said if he could have driven the ball better he might have won. The 36-hole cut at Canterbury was 151. My father missed the 36-hole cut after shooting disappointing rounds of 81-76-157.
Article from the Oklahoman
City’s Grout Family Won Top Billing in State’s Golf History
Anthony DeGiusti – December 4, 1985
“Almost every golf enthusiast recognizes the name of Jack Grout, the teaching golf pro whose prize student was a kid from Columbus, Ohio, named Jack Nicklaus.
Nicklaus has given his mentor much credit, acknowledging him as “the only teacher I ever had,” dedicating a book to him and seeking him out regularly to smooth the edges of his usually flawless game.
Thus, Grout’s name has been cemented forever in golf lore and legend.
But it’s not generally known that Grout was but one member of a remarkable golfing family from Oklahoma a family that played alongside golf greats and near-greats during the Depression years in the Southwest. They left behind an extraordinary legacy of championships and accomplishments.
Together, the Grouts counted such golfing legends as Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Jimmy Demaret and Babe Didrikson as their peers in the 1930s.
In all, there were eight children in the north Oklahoma City household of H.D. and Nellie Grout. Six of them became exceptional golfers. Jim, the oldest, gets credit for introducing golf to his younger brothers and sisters.
He began caddying at the old Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club in 1913, and the others followed. For years, the city caddy title was practically the private property of the Grouts.
Dick Grout, the first member of the family to turn pro, twice won the Oklahoma Open and played in the 1929 U.S. Open at Winged Foot as well as in many tournaments in the 1930s.
Dick’s forte was golf instruction. In a career that spanned nearly six decades, his club jobs included Dornick Hills in Ardmore, Twin Hills in Oklahoma City, Glen Garden and Colonial in Fort Worth and Butterfield in Chicago.
In 1944-46, as pro at the Twin Hills Country Club, he gave more than 1,000 lessons.
Dick, like Jack, was a respected and accomplished teacher, something he did almost to the day he died in February 1982 at age 79.
Ray “Dutch” Grout was a colorful pro who was perhaps the best shotmaker of all the Grouts. His home base was the old Edgemere Golf Club in northwest Oklahoma City.
Dutch was known for always being ready for the next challenge match or the next exotic bet.
Most everyone who knew Dutch has a favorite anecdote about his exploits. Brother Jim used to tell of when Dutch qualified to play in the 1933 U.S. Open at the North Shore Club near Chicago but never teed it up, having lost his clubs and bag in a crap game the night before the tournament began. Dutch eventually did play in a U.S. Open, when he and Jack competed at Merion, Pa., in 1934. That same year, he won the Oklahoma Match Play Open. Dutch died in 1967.
Jack Grout’s road from Oklahoma City to becoming Nicklaus’s teacher was dotted with a successful try at tournament golf and several top-notch club jobs, including assistant to golfing great Henry Picard at Hershey C.C., Scioto, La Gorce and Muirfield Village G.C.
In addition to the 1934 U.S. Open, Jack competed in five other National Opens; 1935 at Oakmont in Pittsburgh, 1940 and 1946 at the Canterbury Club in Cleveland and 1947 in St. Louis, where he finished with a fine 71-80-78-74-303 in the Open won by Lew Worsham. Jack Grout’s final major championship was the 1956 U.S. Open at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York. Jack Grout competed in a number of PGA Championships as well. His best finishes were ninth-place (tie); 1941 at Cherry Hills in Denver and 1945 at Moraine Country Club in Dayton, Ohio.
The golfing Grouts didn’t consist solely of men. Sister Jenny, the youngest, was one of the greatest female golfers in Oklahoma history.
Her prodigious length off the tee and excellent putting touch carried Jenny to dozens of championships, including the State Amateur in 1937 and several Oklahoma City titles.
Jenny also competed in many of the top women’s tournaments, including the Texas Open, the Trans-Mississippi, the Southern Invitational and the Southern Amateur.
Jenny eventually married Henry Robertson, another accomplished Oklahoma golfer. She died in 1967.
The only male Grouts not to turn pro were Jim and Herbert, who were splendid golfers who could keep up with the best of them. Both men remained in Oklahoma and entered private business.
Only Jack and Herbert are still alive, but old-time Sooner golfers still talk about the Grouts.
Floyd Farley, longtime Oklahoma City pro and course architect, played with the Grouts in the 1930s and traveled the western tour for a time with Jack. He thinks Dutch was the best but admits it’s a question that will never be answered.
“I just wish someone would have thought about setting up a match between Jack, Dick and Dutch back then. That would have been one helluva match,” Farley said.”