In the world of Jackie Burke Jr., routines and mantras have a deeper meaning than most.
The 97-year-old former Masters and PGA champion – who co-founded Champions Golf Club in northwest Houston alongside his former babysitter and three-time Masters champion, Jimmy Demaret – starts every morning with a trip to the bank so he can maintain a fierce hold on the club’s finances. Never in the club’s 63-year history has a member been assessed and Burke’s loathing of debt is the main reason why.
After the bank, Burke is off to the club where he roams the practice area, holds court in his wood-paneled office that doubles as a de facto museum or spends time approving each new member – a handicap of 15 or lower, recently raised from 12, is a requirement. The club’s membership, roughly 800 strong if you include social members, is stocked full of talented players that range from major champions like Hal Sutton and Steve Elkington to competitive single-digit handicappers who are eager to improve their standing. In non-pandemic times, Burke wo...
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