Jack Burke got into golf as a young boy caddying at the Philadelphia Country Club. He became a club maker at age 15 and worked as a professional at the Delaware County Field Club, Hershey Country Club, Philadelphia Country Club, Aronimink Golf Club, and the Old York Road Country Club. In his early 20s he moved west where he held head professional positions in Iowa, Illinois, Canada and Minnesota.
As a professional in St. Paul, Minnesota he tied for second in the 1920 U.S. Open and he won the Minnesota Open four times in five years (1919-1923).
Later in the 1920s he settled down in Houston, Texas. Jack Burke Sr., was the club professional at Houston's River Oaks Country Club, and hired a young fellow named Jimmy Demaret as an assistant pro.
Many give Burke credit for being the first to bring a real knowledge of golf to Texas. Burke won the Texas PGA championship in 1936.
Burke Sr. students included Babe Zaharias, Jimmy Demaret, Jack Grout, and Jack Burke Jr.
Burke returned to his roots in 1926 to finish third in the Philadelphia Open and in 1939 at the age of 49 he qualified for the U.S. Open that was being held at the Philadelphia Country Club where he started his career. In 1941 he won the PGA Seniors' Championship.
Burke invented the all-weather grip for golf clubs. The grip was a rubber grip with cotton cord running through it. Burke had a patent on the idea and sold the grips through the Burke Par Company as the Burke Grip. He also was the uncle of Dave Marr, the winner of the PGA Championship in 1965.
Ben Hogan credited Burke Sr. for shaping his downswing in the book: "The Secret of Hogan's Swing" by Tom Bertrand, Printer Bowler.
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania