Dr. George F. Grant was well known in the medical field for his contributions to dentistry and the number of successful cases he’d achieved thanks to his procedures. His love of golf would see him contribute to the sport in a significant way.
Promoting Changes in Dental Treatment
He traveled the U.S. giving speeches and demonstrations of his techniques. Grant pushed the concept that dental work should go further than addressing a patient’s pain and problems as it could impact appearance and speech for better or worse. His interest in dentistry went deeper than the mechanical aspect of “doing the job” and more to the core of what the quality of their work achieved.
As a result, Dr. George F. Grant could be extremely critical of the performance of fellow dentists as well as the procedures encouraged. Among other concerns, Grant wanted better filling materials, the structure of prosthetics to be reduced, better bedside manner, and for crowning procedures to be improved.
Golf and Invention
His understanding of physics played a large part in wanting improved standards for crowning but it also drew him to golf. Golf had just reached the U.S. and was quickly gaining in popularity. Because of his status as an influential dentist, Dr. George F. Grant was able to pursue the sport thanks in part to the Franklin Park public course.
In these days, golf balls were teed off a mound of sand. As one might expect, this didn’t prove the best method for golfers of any experience or talent level—Grant’s own ability was said to be questionable but certainly didn’t benefit from this way of teeing off. He would take to practicing in a small, private course at home and experiment with friends and fellow golfers. The goal was simply to create a tee that worked.
In late 1899, he would receive a patent (638,920) for a tee that featured a wooden spike which went into the ground a rubber piece which the ball sat on. The tee wasn’t unique as European players used something similar but it was new to the U.S. golf scene. Grant gave his tees to friends and didn’t chase marketing of the device.
As it would happen, another dentist and golfer named Dr. William Lowell made another tee similar to Grant’s ten years later. This tee would have marketing behind it and became the widely used tee of modern golf. The PGA recognizes Grant’s tee as the original as his tee was the first to get a patent.
Grant passed away as a result of liver disease on August 21, 1910, in Chester, New Hampshire.