Jack Nicklaus flashed a silky swing, charm and a smile as bright as the countless golf balls he has sunk during his storied career Monday.
The man nicknamed the Golden Bear — winner of 18 major tournament titles and regarded by many as the best to ever swing a club — worked the crowd of more than 150 people who attended a private clinic at the Tacoma Golf & Country Club in Lakewood.
Nicklaus is spending a few hours in the South Sound, en route to a trip to Asia, to help raise money for the expansion of the American Lake Veterans Golf Course from nine to 18 holes. He is co-chair of the committee trying to raise $3 million for the project and is donating the services of his design team.
Before making his fund-raising pitch, Nicklaus put on a clinic, in every sense of the word. Standing at a freshly groomed tee, he launched balls that whistled hundreds of yards away. He stressed how no two golfers’ swings are alike. He even cracked one-liners that knocked everything from his age to his weight.
But when talking with reporters about the expansion — which supporters say will help injured soldiers who use golf for physical and emotion rehabilitation — one of golf’s biggest performers looked down toward the grass to search for words.
“This is one out of love,” he said.
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