Jack Grout was one of the best Golf Instructors the world has ever seen.  One of his star pupils for many years was Jack Nicklaus.  Sam Byrd who was Ben Hogan’s teacher for 20 years starting in 1945 and Jack Grout were very good friends, they taught the same way talked golf all the time and played quite a bit together as well.  One thing that Jack Nicklaus said Grout did to him quite often was to hold his hair while making swings to teach him to keep his head perfectly still in the golf swing.  Well this didn’t make sense to quite a few people that truly understood the golf swing because NOBODY let there head flow with the body better than Nicklaus in his prime!  So one day in the early 80’s a friend of Sam Byrd’s called up Jack Grout, he lived close by, Jack retired and worked from time to time at Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada 15 minutes from where we lived in Key Largo Florida.  He explained that he was Sam Byrd’s apprentice and wondered if it was ok to come over and talk for awhile.  Jack Grout said you bet come on over and we will have lunch!  Well they talked golf and what Grout and Byrd did together over the years for hours and hours.  After lunch this guy said he loved hearing about the great times they had together but there was one last question I want to ask you.  Why did Nicklaus say you used to hold his hair to get him to keep his head still?  Because we have just been talking golf for a couple hours now and you have not mentioned any thing of the sorts, in fact you and Sam teach the same way, that it’s impossible to have a great golf swing and keep the head still.  Jack Grout said excuse me for a minute I will be right back, as he headed towards his office.  He brought this picture back and gave it to him!

Jack Nicklaus pictures 001   Jack Grout then put a ruler on the ball and said "if I had ever held his hair he would have looked like Yul Brynner (been bald) by the time he was 12, I never held his hair a day in his life and it pisses me off that he say’s that."

So why did Jack Nicklaus start saying Jack Grout held his hair?  Most likely after getting away from Grout he started listening to other players and teachers that can talk a good game but when it gets down to it really don’t understand the True Fundamentals of the golf swing and what MUST happen.  And sadly only about 10% of the instructors out there really do!!  Jack Grout taught Nicklaus to tie in the upper part of the left arm and reach for a cloud in the sky with his right. 

Nicklaus 1959 Look at Nicklaus in this picture!!  He is 19 years old doing what his teacher wants, keeping the left arm connected to the pec and lat muscles and hitting the hell out of the ball with the right.  Now it’s obvious that great athletes hit it as hard with the left as much as the right side, that is what centripetal force is!!  But most players feel the right side more simply because they are right handed. 

Jack Nicklaus pictures 002Jack Nicklaus pictures 006  These two pictures look quite a bit alike don’t they?  I remember when Annika Sorenstam first came out on Tour she was criticized by the so called "experts" that she moved her head too much and she will never last.  Annika is just doing what Hogan and Nicklaus were taught before she was born!! 

Jack Nicklaus pictures 003 Now here is Jack when he finally achieved keeping the head still look at the reverse pivot and if you picked up his left foot he would fall over towards the target.  Horrible position!!  By the way this is when he started feeling the inevitable back pain from playing from here.  The sad thing is a great many instructors use this image as the model of a perfect back swing??!!  Sad, Sad, SAD….  Look at the record of players when they are in these positions for crying out loud.  If Jack can’t play from here I wouldn’t advice any one else to try.  He was the best that’s ever been while working on the correct stuff. 

One last thing.  While traveling to the golf course during practice rounds for the 1980 US Open.  Jack Nicklaus took a car with his fellow competitor Jim Colbert.  Jim said that Nicklaus was playing poorly at the time and did not really want to be there that week fearing he would miss the cut by a bunch!!  Jim Colbert told him that when he was playing his best golf he simply "married" the upper part of his left arm to his body and kept it there throughout the swing.  Well with that swing thought Nicklaus went on to win his last US Open!!  Learn the simplicity of the golf swing and get out there and do it!!

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  1. Great article. These kind of things help dispel all the misinformation out there. I do feel that the jury is still out on reverse pivot, it’s one way our body keeps its balance.


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