|Full name||John Frederick Grout|
|Born||March 24, 1910
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
|Died||May 13, 1989 (aged 79)
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight||185 pounds (84 kg; 13.2 st)|
|Spouse||Bonnie Ann Fox|
|Children||John (1944), Veronica (1945), Richard (1953), Deborah (1954)|
|Former tour(s)||PGA Tour|
|Best results in
|U.S. Open||T51: 1947|
|PGA Championship||T9: 1941, 1945|
John Frederick "Jack" Grout (March 24, 1910 – May 13, 1989) was an American professional golfer who competed on the PGA Tour from 1931 to 1953. He is best known as the ‘first and only’ golf teacher of Jack Nicklaus.
Grout was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He began his golf career in 1918 as a caddie at the old Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club. In 1927, at the age of seventeen, he was named the golf professional at Edgemere Country Club in Oklahoma City. On October 30, 1929, just one day after the stock market collapsed, he was elected to membership in the PGA. Several months later in February, 1930 he and his older brother Dick moved from Oklahoma to Fort Worth, Texas. There, the older Grout began working as the head professional at Glen Garden Country Club. It was at Glen Garden where Jack Grout, working as his brother’s assistant, became friends with 18 year old Byron Nelson and 17 year old Ben Hogan. Both Nelson and Hogan were junior members of the club.
Grout made his PGA Tour début on December 18, 1931 while playing in the Pasadena Open at Brookside Park Golf Course. He remained a regular member on the pro circuit until 1945. Though, he had one of the finest swings in the game, he was never among the Tour’s top money winners because of extreme near-sightedness.
In 1941, Grout's unofficial tournament earnings totaled over $4,200. According to PGA Tour statistics, he ranked #25 with $2,389 in official money. His best finish came in the St Augustine Professional-Amateur when he and partner Frank Allan placed second to Sam Snead and Wilford Wehrle. Other top ten finishes that year included: third (tie), Hershey Open; fourth (tie), Atlantic City Open; fifth, Thomasville Open; seventh (tie), Harlingen Open; eighth (tie), Florida West Coast Open; ninth (tie), Miami Open and ninth (tie) in the PGA Championship at Cherry Hills in Denver, Colorado. Again, in 1942, he ranked #25 on the PGA Tour in official money. In 1943, according to PGA Tour Player Rankings, he was ranked #18.
Grout departed Texas for good in 1937 and spent the next three years at Hershey Country Club in Hershey, Pennsylvania, as an assistant to Henry Picard. At that time, Picard was one of the top players on the tour. Through Grout’s association with Picard, he had been exposed to new theories on golf technique that had been advanced in the 1920s and 30s by Alex Morrison, a controversial West Coast professional. In many respects, Morrison, who courted publicity, was well ahead of his time. So, in his own quiet way, was Grout. In 1950, at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio, when he started to work with 10 year old Jack Nicklaus, he had arrived at a very sound understanding of the golf swing – a plexus of Morrison’s ideas, Picard’s ideas, and his own.
As Grout saw it, there were three main fundamentals. First, the head must be kept still throughout the swing. Second, good footwork means good balance. The basis of footwork is rolling the ankles correctly. Third, when a golfer is young and limber he should try to develop the widest possible arc by making a full shoulder turn and fully extending his arms on the backswing and downswing. It is best to learn to hit the ball far and improve on accuracy when you are older.
Grout completed his PGA Tour career by playing in the 1956 U.S. Open at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York. In October 1961, he moved his family to Miami Beach, Florida where he became pro at La Gorce Country Club. Grout held that position until 1975 when, at the age of 65, he decided to say farewell to the day to day responsibilities of a head professional and accept the invitation of Jack Nicklaus to become the teacher-in-chief and professional emeritus at his Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.
During the late 1970s and 1980s, Grout held wintertime teaching professional positions at Frenchman’s Creek Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and, later at The Loxahatchee Club in Jupiter, Florida. Throughout his long career, Grout played a pivotal role in the development of many fine players. His reputation for having a non-irritating manner, an uncanny eye in spotting flaws and knack of transmitting simple solutions to what seemed like complicated problems attracted such golfers as Jack Nicklaus, Raymond Floyd, Tommy Aaron, Joe Turnesa, Dow Finsterwald, Ben Crenshaw, Grier Jones, DeWitt Weaver, Marty Fleckman, J. C. Snead, Gibby Gilbert, Jerry Heard, Roger Maltbie, Tom Purtzer, Lanny Wadkins, Bruce Devlin, Jim Colbert, George Burns III, Fred Ridley, Steve Melnick, and Olin Browne.
Grout continued to teach and promote the game until his death in Tequesta, Florida at the age of 79. He and Bonnie Ann (Fox), his wife of 46 years, had four children and six grandchildren. He is interred beside her in Riverside Memorial Park in Tequesta, Florida. Additionally; Jack Grout came from a fine family of golfers. His older brother Dick played in the 1926 PGA Championship at Salisbury Golf Links, Westbury, New York and the 1929 U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. Also, Dick won the Oklahoma Open in 1927 and 1929. His younger brother Raymond (Dutch) played in the 1934 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania and, later that same year, won the Oklahoma State Open Match-Play Championship. His youngest sister Jenny was one of the greatest female golfers in Oklahoma history. She won both the state high school girl’s championship in 1934 and the state amateur championship in 1937.