Many people believe that Jack Nicklaus was nicknamed “the Golden Bear” for his husky build and blonde hair, however the nickname can trace its roots to his high school mascot, the Upper Arlington Golden Bears. Jack grew up in the Columbus suburb of Upper Arlington. He took up golf at the age of 10 and learned playing at Scioto Country Club. There he shot a 51 on his first round of 9 holes ever played! At the age of 15, Nicklaus shot a 66 which broke the Scioto Country Club amateur record. While attending Upper Arlington High School, Jack became a standout as a shooting guard on the school’s basketball team. He received college basketball scouting attention from several NCAA programs. Instead of pursuing basketball, Jack decided to continue with golf while attending the Ohio State University. There he became the first individual to win the U.S. Amateur and the NCAA Championship in the same year (1961). Nicklaus decided to turn professional even though he was just a few credit hours short of graduating. Throughout the “course” of his professional career, he captured 73 career wins (3rd all time) and a record 18 major titles. He retired from golf in 2005. Today, Nicklaus splits time between his homes in Palm Beach, Florida and Dublin, Ohio. He also hosts his own PGA Tournament, the Memorial, which is held at the Muirfiled Village Golf Course each year.
Even though he never graduated from Ohio State, he received an honorary doctorate from OSU in 1972. He is also one of a few non-sousaphone players to ever “Dot-the-i” at an Ohio State football game.