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The Quick Wit of Jackie Burke

Jackie and Robin Burke

No way you put him at 92. Spend a morning chatting with World Golf Hall of Fame member Jackie Burke in his oak-paneled office in Houston and your first thought is: He can’t be that old, can he?

The ascerbic wit remains as quick as ever, even as his Texas drawl slows with the passage of time. There are the occasional stumbles – a lost train of thought here, a faded name or place there, tiny steps and an occasional old-man shuffle that are almost ubiquitous among the post-80 crowd. But not even the hearing problems that cause him to interrupt while others are speaking would lead you to believe that this World War II Marine is unfit for duty.

Just look around. The office, located just a few steps from the golf shop, dining area and locker room at Champions Golf Club, the 36-hole complex Burke and his partner Jimmy Demaret built in 1957, is a vibrant work station in the midst of a treasure trove of history, with Burke at its center.

“We didn’t build this place for millionaires,” he said as he points to a black-and-white photo on the wall of his younger self with Demaret at their newly opened club, a spry young man with dark, curly hair and a huge smile. “From the very beginning, we wanted this to be an affordable club.”


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