The following excerpt is from the chapter titled NICKLAUS.
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A native of Oklahoma, Grout had been a good player with more than a dozen top-ten finishes as a touring pro, although never an official win. He started his career in 1930 as an assistant pro under his brother at Glen Garden Golf and Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, the same club where Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson were learning the game as caddies and later as professionals. Grout moved on to Hershey Country Club in Pennsylvania, where he was an assistant to Henry Picard, the 1938 Masters champion. Now forty, Grout, tall with rimless glasses and jet black hair, was anxious to pass on his enthusiastic thoughts about the golf swing.
He wanted to let Kessler know that he was setting up a weekly, two-hour class every Friday morning for juniors. So Kessler and photographer Dick Garrett went out and took a picture of around thirty kids, mostly ages eight, nine, and ten. The picture ran, promoting the clinic without identifying any of the children.
A few months later, Grout again rang Kessler. Their first nine-hole tournament had concluded and one of the boys in the photo shot a 51 the first time ever playing nine holes. “I said, ‘You’re kidding me, I’m giving up golf’,” says Kessler. “Nine holes at Scioto, and he shoots 51?” So Kessler ventured back out to the club and wrote a little blurb about ten-year-old Jackie Nicklaus, who Grout had invited to the clinics after seeing him tag along with his father. Since then there isn’t a name that has filled the columns of that paper’s sports section more often.
By the end of his first year playing, Nicklaus, who supplemented the classes with a private lesson every couple of weeks, had shot 95 for 18 holes and recorded his first win in the club juvenile championship with a score of 121 for 18 holes. The next year, his best was an 81, and he had become the star pupil of the weekly classes. He was the teacher’s pet, for Grout saw something in Nicklaus he had seen in few others. The talent was present, but so was a blend of determination, commitment, and intellect. Through Nicklaus, Grout could impart the swing theories he had conjured up over the last two decades. He hammered it into Nicklaus using three main points.