Waterloo | Inducted 1993 | Category: Amateur Golfer

Growing up Waterloo, a city rich with golf tradition, Jack Rule Jr. added to his hometown’s legacy. He went from a local prodigy to a two-time winner on the PGA Tour.

Rule started playing golf at 11 years of age in 1950, when it cost kids a dime to play the Byrnes Park (now Irv Warren) course. And he spent many an hour there growing up. His parents were divorced. Jack Rule Sr. ran the Standard Oil station in town. He lived with his mom, Dixie, who was a hostess at a steakhouse. Young Jack lived with his mom when he started playing golf, and she was gone to work by the time he got home from school.

“I only saw her for a couple of hours a week,” Jack recalled. “So the rest of my time was wide open. I had nobody to have dinner with. I didn’t have anybody to see at home. So what I did was, I went to the golf course.”

On weekends and over the summer, Rule was at the course a minimum of 12 hours a day.

“I got better than my peers simply because I was doing it probably three to four times as much as they were.”

He broke 40 for the first time in the summer of 1951. He was 14 when he won the Waterloo City title in 1953, knocking off 1952 Iowa Amateur champion Art Koch in the semifinals.

By 1954 he was medalist at the Iowa Amateur at the Davenport Country Club and made it to the semifinals of match play. He also reached the semifinals of the Iowa Junior Amateur for a second straight year and won it in 1956. That was the year he made a national name for himself as well.

Jack was now living with his dad, who made sure his son had the money to play in any tournament he wanted to. He also bought his son a car, which Jack drove to Williamstown, Mass., to play in the 1956 USGA Junior Amateur. Rule beat Jack Nicklaus, then the nation’s top-rated amateur, in the semifinals but lost in the title match. Two weeks later, Rule beat Nicklaus again in an 18-hole playoff to capture the International Jaycee Junior in Fargo, N.D.Rule was declared the national junior champion for 1956.

Rule learned to win at one-day, 27-hole tournaments across the state. He moved it up a notch by winning the Iowa Amateur in 1958 and 1959, the Iowa Masters in 1960 and the Northwest Amateur in 1961. He also won the Western Junior Amateur in 1958, and Waterloo Open amateur titles in 1958 and 1959.

Jack headed to the powerhouse Houston program to play his college golf. Also a basketball star at Waterloo West, he was also asked to play point guard by the Cougars’ legendary coach, Guy V. Lewis. Jack reported to practice on the freshman team, but was so sore after the first two days of workouts he decided to stick with golf.

Rule later transferred to Iowa, where he lettered twice and reached the quarterfinals of the 1961 NCAA Championship his senior year. Rule turned professional on Sept. 1, 1961, and entered the Iowa Open. He tied for eighth and won $62.50. He made it to the PGA Tour in 1962, and played six fulltime seasons. He won twice, with a second, two thirds and 18 Top 10 finishes.

His first victory came in 1963 at the St. Paul Open. He made 11 birdies in a second-round 61, survived a trip to the hospital the night before the final round to pass a kidney stone and still won by five shots to pick up a check for $5,300. His second win was at the 1965 Oklahoma City Open, which earned him a $10,000 check.

Rule would return to Waterloo after his tour career ended to win the Waterloo Open in 1969 and 1974. He had won the Waterloo Open amateur title in 1958 and 1959.

Career Highlights

  • 1956 International Jaycee Junior Champion
  • 1958 Western Junior Amateur Champion
  • 1958 & ’59 Iowa Amateur Champion
  • 1958 & ’59 Waterloo Open Amateur Champion
  • 1969 & ’74 Waterloo Open Professional Champion
  • 1960 Iowa Masters Champion
  • 1961 Northwest Amateur Champion

Two PGA Tour Victories

  • St. Paul Open (’63)
  • Oklahoma City Open (’65)

Defeated Jack Nicklaus in the semifinals of the 1956 U.S. Junior Championship

Scroll to top