Janet Craig was a golfer. She had an enviable, large circle of golf-loving friends, many of which were close enough to be considered family. She was also a loving wife, mom, sister and daughter. She played in a Women’s U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur and Western Amateur. She was a six-time medalist in the Cincinnati Women’s Metropolitan Tournament (the medalist trophy was later named for her). Amazingly, she never played golf before meeting Bert, her husband to-be, in college. He was a self-taught +3 at the time and the game was a passion of his. It’s believed Bert’s first conversation with Jan included the question, “Wanna go play some golf?” She did, and somehow a first-date disaster must have been avoided because Bert’s subsequent date requests usually were of the “Let’s play golf!” variety.
Their golf stories are legion in our family and they contribute to the accidental founding of Jan Craig Headcovers and its subsequent life. We can’t resist telling a couple of them; after all, Jan and Bert are the legacy.
After they were married, Bert was shipped to Germany by the US Army. While he was away, Jan secretly began to practice golf. Every day. All day. A local club pro noticed her determination and provided valuable advice. The Craig’s pet boxer, Kimmy, would keep Jan company, lying beside her never-ending pile of range balls. After a year, Bert got a leave and came home. Not surprisingly, upon his arrival he said, “Let’s go play golf!” Jan never tipped her hand and it’s told Bert’s jaw nearly hit the ground when on the first tee she wound-up with her MacGregor persimmon driver and delivered a sweet, powerful move that sent her ball 250 yards down the fairway.
Jan and Bert played – individually and as a husband and wife team – in many amateur events in Cincinnati and around the region. They had so many wonderful golf-loving friends that when Jan created that first set of knit headcovers, many of those friends asked if she would make some for them. She was happy to oblige and didn’t ask for any payment; but after a while she confided in Bert that she couldn’t keep it up. His response was, “Why don’t you turn it into a business?” As they say, the rest is history.
Jan Craig Headcovers never had a “business plan” but there was a guiding principal in the early years: make enough headcovers to pay for Jan and Bert’s yearly wedding anniversary trip to Pinehurst. There they would play 36 a day on Course #2, going head-to-head in what they called The Hopeless Open. It was their favorite course and their favorite time together. Bert still has the large score sheets he would create upon returning home. Each year he would frame them and hang them on the walls of the headcover factory (appropriately, a converted garage).
We lost our founder, wife, mom and favorite golf partner unexpectedly and suddenly in 1977 when she was only in her mid-40s. We all still miss her. But we revel in keeping her name and spirit alive with every Jan Craig Headcover we make. Nothing warms our hearts more than when a long-time customer tells us a story of when they spoke with Jan over the phone about a headcover order many years ago.
We cherish every request for a new Jan Craig Headcover because her name goes with each one, thereby keeping her legacy alive and well. Thank you for that and thank you for reading her story.