'I just haven't played any golf -- and that's been OK,' Nicklaus said Saturday. 'I've been working hard. Most people work all their life and retire and play golf, and I played golf all my life and retired to work. But I've enjoyed it. I've had an absolute blast.'
That might not be the case for his wife, Barbara. Suddenly, the Golden Bear is pacing the house and looking for things to do.
'I will say, there's been a lot of changes around the house,' son Gary Nicklaus said with a laugh. 'My mom kind of has a joke that if he sits around the house too long he's going to add on to the house or rebuild it.'
The elder Nicklaus visited his hometown in suburban Columbus for an exhibition round to officially open Ohio State's rebuilt Scarlet Course. Nicklaus, who played his college golf at Scarlet, accepted a $1 fee to update Alister MacKenzie's design. The yearlong reconstruction project cost $4.2 million.
The course will be tested this week when it hosts the NCAA women's championship. Nicklaus added nearly 200 yards to the layout, stretching it to 7,444 yards from the tips and cutting par by a stroke to 71.
Nicklaus played the exhibition with his son, also a former Ohio State golfer; former athletic director Andy Geiger, who gave the green light to the course work; and two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, now in charge of Ohio State's alumni office.
During the exhibition, there were some vintage Nicklaus moments.
As he gave running commentary on his philosophy in redoing the dogleg, 435-yard first hole, he dubbed a chip shot and then rolled in a twisting 25-footer for par.
As he teed off on the third hole, the 65-year-old Nicklaus said to no one in particular, 'I think I just heard my hip squeak. It does that from time to time.'
His drive found the fairway, but wasn't as long as he would have liked. He turned to face the hundreds of people traipsing behind on the course and said, 'You guys always wanted to play golf like I do. Now you can.'
After winning 18 major championships during a magnificent career, Nicklaus left competitive golf last summer. He said he has played only nine rounds of golf since his swan song at the 2005 British Open at St. Andrew's.
He keeps busy with his course-design business, still represents a select few sponsors and spends as much time as he can with his brood of kids and grandkids. Nicklaus said he's 'bored to tears' sitting around the house. He's also put on some weight.
'I feel great, but I've gotten fat,' he said. 'Boy, when you're traveling. ... I've put on about 10 or 15 pounds I don't like. But that'll come off.'