Joined The Augusta Chronicle in 1996 after spending nine years at The Aiken Standard. Served as copy editor, South Carolina bureau chief and Metro Editor before being named Sports Editor in April 2000.
Posted July 23, 2010 02:26 pm

Nicklauses celebrate 50 years

Of all the numbers that Jack Nicklaus posted in his career, this might be the most impressive of all:


As in years of marriage.

Jack William Nicklaus and Barbara Jean Bash tied the knot on July 23, 1960, at North Broadway Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio.

Five children, 21 grandchildren and 18 major championship victories have arrived since that day.

Jack is still regarded by many as the greatest golfer of all-time, and Barbara gets a lot of deserved credit for being the "first lady of golf."

Back in January, Nicklaus held a conference call to discuss his upcoming 70th birthday. He was asked the hardest thing about being Jack Nicklaus.

"I haven't really found that anything has been all that difficult," he said. "I have had a good relationship with my wife and we will have been married 50 years this July - whew, 50 years."

Yes, it does take your breath away.

Barbara points to an encounter with Aleta Mangrum, the wife of Lloyd Mangrum, at the 1962 Masters. That's where she got some advice, according to the Nicklaus Web site.

"Grow up and be a wife," Aleta Mangrum told Barbara.

"I can still see that finger wagging at me, reminding me what I need to do," Barbara said.

Jack, for his part, was no absentee father or husband. He made a promise early on to Barbara to never be away from home for more than a couple of weeks at a time, and the stories of him flying all over the globe to return home for ball games and everyday events are legendary.

Barbaba has always been a good wife, and it showed early on. On their honeymoon, she accompanied Jack during a couple of rounds of golf. After a brief stay in New York City, the two headed for Atlantic City.

When Jack saw the sign for the famous Pine Valley Golf Club, located not far from Atlantic City, he pulled in to play. The only problem was that they club didn't allow women on the grounds.

A club member suggested that Jack play and he would escort Barbara around the perimeter of the course in a car. She could peek in and see him play from time to time.

"I shot 74. I didn't think that was a fair test, because I was on my honeymoon," Nicklaus said in a 2000 interview with Golf Digest.

 At, there is a gallery of photos of Jack and Barbara together through the years. It reminds me of some family albums I've seen, and there isn't a golf club to be found.

They are smiling, enjoying life and each other, and having a good time.

Congratulations, and here's hoping they enjoy many more years together.