Jack Fleck, 1955 United States Open Champion

With Carmen & Jack Fleck at the Outback Steakhouse in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

With Carmen & Jack Fleck at the Outback Steakhouse in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Right after starting the “Journey to Olympic Golf” at Glen Echo CC in St. Louis I headed south to Fort Smith, Arkansas to visit my friend Jack Fleck and his wife Carmen. I first met Jack and his buddy (and now my Czech mate) Ed Tallach at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. We met again at the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach where I interviewed Jack and since then we have always seen each other at The Masters as well. I was excited to interview Mr. Fleck again to capture his insights on the “spirit of golf within” as I felt that he, as well as anybody, had that special feeling when he won the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in 1955.

Jack Fleck at lunch at Hardscrabble CC.

Jack Fleck at lunch at Hardscrabble CC.

Jack gave me all the time in the world for our interview early the next morning. His life in golf started as a caddie at age 14 during the Great Depression when he traveled 14 miles to get to the golf course. Immediately after high school he declared himself a “pro” and combined managing golf courses as a “golf professional” with traveling south during the winters to compete as a “professional golfer.” He spoke about his devotion to the game and his evolution into an “ambassador for golf.”

 

CLICK here for the VIDEO INTERVIEW with Jack Fleck, the 1955 United States Open Champion.

With Jack Fleck and Jeremy Moe at Hardscrabble CC.

With Jack Fleck and Jeremy Moe at Hardscrabble CC.

Jack drove me over to Hardscrabble CC in Fort Smith, Arkansas to introduce me to his friend Jeremy Moe, the Head Golf Professional. He wanted to give me a tour of his home golf course. I wanted to meet Jeremy and see Hardscrabble CC too. In addition I wanted to get a golf lesson from Jack, something I had dreamed of doing for the last 20 years since I saw an article where it noted he lived in Northwest Arkansas and gave golf lessons. If Jack Fleck is a stand-up golfer, a lover of the game and quite proficient at it (an understatement) then Jeremy Moe is his younger version. What a great guy! You can tell immediately there is something very special about him and Hardscrabble CC. I like that Jack Fleck introduced Jeremy in the video interview and the camera captures a bit of the special friendship between these two men.

CLICK here for VIDEO INTERVIEW with Jeremy Moe, Head Golf Professional at Hardscrabble CC.

Jack driving me around Hardscrabble CC.

Jack driving me around Hardscrabble CC.

What a treat to have Jack Fleck give me a personal tour of Hardscrabble CC. If Fort Smith, Arkansas is home to Jack Fleck (it is) then the Hardscrabble club is like his personal golf library or his favorite room in the house. As host of the LPGA and the Web.com Tour for 13 years (last in 2010 when called the Nationwide Tour) this golf course is a world class venue tough enough for the pros and enjoyable for the members. Jack loves trees and the trees and pleasant terrain at Hardscrabble make for a refreshing walk in the natural outdoors every round.

CLICK here for the VIDEO of Andy’s golf lesson with Jack Fleck.

Presenting a Champion at Olympic CC with an Olympic Golf Gold Medal.

Presenting a Champion at Olympic CC with an Olympic Golf Gold Medal.

What a treat to have a golf lesson with Jack Fleck, the 1955 United States Open Champion! What a great sense of humor this man has. Of course I hit a right-to-left shot and after seeing my swing his comment was “I hope it was a dogleg left!” I will always remember his summary comment of “you have a good swing and you should play more.” I will take his advice for sure. For the record and in response to Jack’s concern that I might not get to play much on the “Journey to Olympic Golf.” In hindsight it was a disguised golf trip where I played 42 times on 35 different golf courses!

CLICK here for VIDEO of Jack Fleck receiving an Olympic Golf Gold Medal.

Having come to Jack’s place directly from the Glen Echo CC in St. Louis an idea came to me on the drive south (unfortunately along with a speeding ticket for Torch). The wonderful folks at Glen Echo gave me a full-sized replica of the 1904 Olympic Golf Gold Medal. I realized Jack and his generation missed the opportunity to play golf in the Olympics. I knew that he won the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club and that club was named for and based on the modern Olympics which started in 1896. I thought it proper that Jack receive the Olympic Golf Gold Medal so I presented it to him just before saying good bye and leaving him at Hardscrabble CC.

Here are the pictures  and more stories in the captions from my visit with Jack and his wife Carmen in Fort Smith, Arkansas. What an honor and privilege!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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