Bruno's Blog

An Ode To JACK PDF Print E-mail


By Jason Bruno


Hopefully before you check out my Q& A with the Greatest Champion our game has ever

known, you get a chance to read this, my personal experience of how I fell for the game

of golf via a man named Jack. I know the thought about the writer not rooting for the

player, and that to be objective is to root for the story . . . but I wasn't always a writer,

and in several cases I will admit to pulling for the charisma and or talent of an individual. I

think anyone who says otherwise, is either lying to themselves or is void of human emotion.

In the case of Jack William Nicklaus - I'm guilty as charged.


Tom & Jack - Pebble Beach 1982


I was enamored since I first watched Jack Nicklaus play golf on TV, it was Sunday, June 20th,

1982. It was the eve of my 15th birthday and the final round of the 1982 U.S Open was being

televised on ABC sports. That day I was introduced to the game by an Italian man named

Dominick who waited tables at a local Fort Lauderdale Italian eatery called Mario's, he called me

his caddie . . . but truth be told I knew nothing of golf, I was the busboy.


Dom explained to me that the dashing blond guy was the best player in the history of the

game . . . and was on the verge of winning a record 5th U.S Open Championship on the

most beautiful venue in America - Pebble Beach. As an avid sports fan, I of course knew of

the Golden Bear, but had never watched the drama of a major championship before. Dom

had firmly positioned and romanced the story of Nicklaus pulling it off, my sports crazed mind

bought in, hook line and sinker. As I caught the action on TV, I could see the Monterey Peninsula

was stunning, but I was a kid running around busing tables and scarfing down garlic rolls. Dom

and I were sure the story would finish as we hoped, until suddenly we had our hearts ripped out

by a Huck Finn looking character named Tom Watson - the famous chip in on the seventeenth hole.

We were devastated. The Bear had been clipped by a younger rival, but that night I walked home

after work still scarfing garlic rolls and counting tips, knowing three things for sure: 1) I would

one day take up the game of golf, 2) I would one day go to and Play Pebble Beach, and 3) Jack

Nicklaus was my guy.


10 years later, as a new golfer and volunteer on the grounds staff at the 1992 Honda Classic,

I met Jack in person. Even at 52 years old, I thought he was the golf diety and ignorantly I

wished him luck in trying to win his 7th Masters the following month at Augusta. The Golden Bear

was polite and respectful of my cluelessness, or maybe, just maybe he too thought another Green

Jacket was not out of reach.


13 years later, my oldest daughter Taylor (an accomplished high school golfer at the time) and I

watched on television as Jack holed that twisting final putt on the 18th green at St.Andrews. We

knew it would be his last official competition and thought it would be a great moment to share together.

Seven days later while preparing to play in the Nicklaus Jr at Bear Lakes (one of Palm Beach County's

largest Jr Amateur events) we ran into Jack with his grandchildren beside the driving range. It was a

chance for my daughter to meet Mr.Nicklaus, later that day she called it the thrill of her life. The next day

she shot her first even par (72) round in competition, the following day finished off the field in the 15

& over girls division by 10 shots. As we drove home that summer afternoon, she looked over and said

"Do you know what made the difference this week?" I of course said no, waiting to hear that it must

have been some of my sage advice, a swing tip or a course management directive I gave out earlier in

the week . . . she said "Meeting Jack Nicklaus totally inspired me." Bingo! A day for the ages. A few weeks

after, I thought it would be a nice idea to let Mr.Nicklaus know of how Taylor was inspired by the meeting,

so I wrote a short letter thanking him. Shortly thereafter this letter arrived to my office, it now sits

prominently in our golf room or what I call "My Lair".


Of all the golf mementos we own this might be the one we cherish the most.





I have no doubt that Sunday in 1982 was the spark that fueled all things golf for me, so a special

thanks to Dominick and Jack for the inspiration 32 years ago.


photo by Shawn LaRusso

Jack and I in December 2013 at the opening of the First Tee facility in West palm Beach




photo by Scott Baker

Monday April 29th, 2014 at The Concession Golf Club, Jack & I engage in a brief Q&A.













U.S Professional Hickory Golf Championship PDF Print E-mail


By Jason Bruno

Recently I was invited by my friend Mike Stevens to participate in the U.S Hickory

Professional Championship (as an amateur) at Temple Terrace Golf Club in Tampa.

Having never hit a shot with a hickory club, I stood on the first tee knowing it would be

foolish to expect that I'd have even a vague clue on how to score with authentic hickory

equipment. My goal was two fold, enjoy the experience and fight like hell to break 100.

Knowing that the best and most experienced players consider anything around 80 a

decently respectable score . . .  I knew staying in double digits would be a challenge.


Somehow, after multiple train wrecks resulting in double bogeys, I made my way into

the house-shooting 91 on the par 73 layout. An embarrassing score under normal

conditions for a scratch player, but I was relieved and better for the experience. My

appreciation for Francis Ouimet and the great Bobby Jones (and their accomplishments)

had went through the roof, especially after my first attempt to post a score using the

equipment of yesteryear. Many of the participants who play hickory equipment competitively

also play it exclusively, citing the jump back and forth from modern equipment just too

difficult to adjust to. Although I could never give up the joy of playing modern equipment,

I'd have to agree, if you wanted to be serious on the "knicker circuit" there is no way you

can dabble with titanium and graphite.


Seeing the players wearing the classic 1920's attire is a blast, love the history. Next year

my goal will be to break 80 . . .


Below is the official results and press release on the event:

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Swiss Pro cruises to victory at the United States Professional Hickory Championship

Paolo Quirici of Switzerland successfully defended his title at the fourth annual United

States Professional Hickory Golf Championship at historic Temple Terrace Golf &

Country Club. The tournament, a commemorative to the 1925 Florida Open is played

with pre-1930 era equipment and balls. Quirici, the reigning World Hickory Champion

toured the Tom Bendelow layout in one over par 74 to grab the $1,500 first prize and

the John Shippen Cup for whom the tournament is dedicated. The Swiss pro was a model

of consistency on the 6,400 yard venue considered a brute of a golf course when opened

for play in 1922. He becomes the first two time winner of the Championship. Four players

shared second place with scores of 79 – Temple Terrace host pro Jim Garrison, Richard

Bullock, Dylan Malafronte and Adam Varney.

Teresa Zamboni of Port Orange, Florida edged out defending champion Jennifer Cully to

take the Ladies title and Bruce Del Guidice of Weeki Watchi, Florida was the low amateur.

The USPHGC is open to all golf professionals, male and female and players compete for

the same $5,000 prize fund associated with the original Florida Open won by Leo Diegel.

The winner’s name is engraved on the the John Shippen Cup, dedicated to America’s first

golf professional which is on permanent display in the Temple Terrace clubhouse. The golf

course is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and one of only two in the state.

The championship is dedicated to preserving and honoring the history of early golf in America.

Top 12 Finishers and Payout:

74 – Paolo Quirici - $1500

79 – Jim Garrison, Richard Bullock, Dylan Malafronte, Adam Varney - $650

80 – Mark Harman - $300

82 – Steve Herron, Jim Giordano - $182

83- Mike Stevens, Gregor Jamieson - $87

84 – Tom McCrary - $50

85 – Clay Thomas - $50

92 – Teresa Zamboni - $200


For more info on Hickory Golf contact Mike Stevens at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it









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