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Jay Busbee

Jack Nicklaus gives First Tee players a look at a legend

Jay Busbee
Devil Ball Golf

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One of the impressive things about golf is the way that former icons are always visible. You don't see many Hall of Famers in other sports still strutting the playing fields, but golfers of the past are always there, often playing right alongside the stars of today.

Icons don't come any bigger than Jack Nicklaus, who's very much in attendance at this weekend's Honda Classic. On Thursday, he had the opportunity to spend some time with three members of The First Tee program, young golfers who overcame significant personal and family difficulties to make it all the way to a golf club trading stories with none other than Nicklaus himself.

Golf Digest's Ron Sirak had the opportunity to observe Nicklaus and the First Tee members, and turned in a touching look at the way golf -- and dignity -- get passed down through the generations:

Nicklaus chatted with a threesome who could easily be his grandchildren. None of them had ever seen Jack hit a shot when he was really Jack, but they all knew who he was and what he had accomplished. That is part of the magic of golf.

Just as impressively, Nicklaus knew the back story of each of the youngsters and was impressed with what they had accomplished, journeys, he stressed, that were more important and more difficult than winning golf tournaments. "Each of them found like a father or a mother figure in The First Tee," Nicklaus said. "With what they have experienced in their lives, they could have followed the good things of life or the bad things of life and, in part because of golf, they chose the good things."

The First Tee is a great idea, one that takes underprivileged or challenged youth and helps them start to see new opportunities through golf. And the fact that a legend like Nicklaus gives so much of himself to help the program is an inspiration.

Golden Touch [Golf Digest]

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