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No name is more synonymous with greatness in the sport of golf than the name Jack Nicklaus, and no single person has changed the face of the sport more than Jack Nicklaus – the player, the designer, the philanthropist, and the good-will ambassador.
In June 2018, the Golden Bear received the Lincoln Medal from the Ford’s Theatre Society, making Jack Nicklaus just the fourth person in history—and the first athlete or sportsperson—to be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2005), the Congressional Gold Medal (2015) and now the Lincoln Medal.
Jack’s competitive career spanned five decades, and his legend has been built with 120 professional tournament victories worldwide and a record 18 professional major-championship titles (six Masters, five PGA Championships, four U.S. Opens, three British Opens). He is one of only five golfers—Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, and Tiger Woods the others—who have won all four of golf's modern majors, an achievement often referred to as the career “Grand Slam.” Jack remains the only player to have completed the career Grand Slam on both the regular and senior tours. His eight majors on the senior circuit, now called the PGA TOUR Champions, stood as a record from 1996 until 2017.
The legacy Jack has left as a player can be rivaled only by the legacy he is leaving as a golf-course designer, businessman and philanthropist. Jack was voted the 2017 Golf Course Designer of the Year, 2014 Architect of the Year and many more. He was also recognized with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America’s highest honor, The Old Tom Morris Award. Jack has been involved in the design of over 300 courses open for play worldwide, and his thriving business, Nicklaus Design, has more than 415 courses open for play worldwide, which are represented in 45 countries and 40 states.
Jack and his wife Barbara have a long history of involvement in numerous charitable activities, from junior golf to children’s hospitals to several scholarship foundations. Jack and Barbara are the guiding light for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which supports numerous pediatric health-care services in South Florida, as well as nationally, and has raised almost $100 million since its inception in 2004.
Residing in North Palm Beach, Fla., since 1965 and in the same home they have lived since 1970, Jack and Barbara Nicklaus are parents to five children and grandparents to 22.
Jack Nicklaus' Speech Topics
Golden Lessons in Golf and Life
When you ask Jack Nicklaus to share his life’s lessons, he most certainly recounts indelible moments from his decades-long adventure as a professional golfer. But weaved inside his tales of competitive sport are messages that resonate deep with athletes, business leaders, and mission-driven organizations alike.
From visualizing the next great golf course out of an overgrown field to balancing victory and defeat with the pressure to perform, Nicklaus learned in his time on the green what it means to chase your own potential.
In his journey to greatness, Nicklaus knew he couldn’t go it alone – he relied on his family, and their love and support, as inspiration for his great success. After nearly 60 years of marriage to his wife, Barbara, and having raised five children and 22 grandchildren, Nicklaus proves you can still do what you love when you put the people you love first.
On stage, Nicklaus make a powerful case for his core fundamentals of success – preparation, discipline, and graciousness – all the while lighting up the room with his nostalgic and humble view of dreams come true.
Philosophy of Philanthropy
Most men work their entire life to retire to play golf. Jack Nicklaus played golf his entire life to retire to work – good work.
In the Golden Bear’s golden years, he and wife Barbara have dedicated their time to helping children and families get access to world-class pediatric healthcare. In 2004, they founded the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation to support this effort. Collaborating with pediatric hospitals across the U.S., their Foundation has gained momentum, and grown into a thriving charity capable of making a real difference for children on a massive scale.
It is their passion and commitment to children that led globally renowned Miami Children’s Hospital to change its name to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, and in 2017 to rebrand their entire Miami Children’s Health System to Nicklaus Children’s. The system includes 14 outpatient centers spread throughout Florida.
Nicklaus speaks passionately about his family’s charitable efforts, and how they were able to evolve from a life focused on the fundamentals of competitive sport to one driven by a philosophy of philanthropy.