Raised in CT I knew very little about Wake Forest except my Dad used to tell me that is the school the Great Arnold Palmer attended . Well during my Wake years I had the opportunity to meet Arnie (that is what he told me to call him) when I was bar-tending a private dinner event at the school and he spent five minutes with us talking about our classes and upcoming graduation – – his graciousness and desire to spend a few minutes with us while so many people wanted to chat with him is one of the many memories I will always cherish of my time at Wake Forest.
It was August, 1959, I believe, I was 13 years old when Arnold Palmer came to play an exhibition match and give a clinic at the course my father belonged to, the Greenville (PA) Country Club., in Northwestern Pennsylvania He had already won his first Master’s (in 1958), was already a “rock star”, and the little town turned out to see him, the atmosphere was electric. I remember the excitement when he started to hit his practice balls. I have never seen anyone crunch a nine-iron so hard, and when he finally took out his driver and drove a line drive straight and true, within 35-40 yards of the first green, a par four, the crowd was really buzzing. My dad was a low-handicap golfer, and played in the match, Arnold tied the course record of 64, and my dad had a 73. Arnold came back the next year, to even bigger crowds, and shot a 68 (my dad had a 70, sinking a long putt on the last hole). Arnie seemed as excited for my dad as the crowd was. Arnie was a true gentleman, and shook my hand along with hundreds of others, always the gracious and gregarious guy. When it came time for me to select a college, I naturally thought of only one school, Wake Forest, without even having visited it. If it was good enough for Arnold Palmer, it was good enough for me. My parents agreed. One of my best decisions ever. Jim Logan, WFU grad., Class of 1967.
My Dad was a fan of Arnold Palmer and he never missed an opportunity to watch him play. Growing up in in the Dallas Ft Worth area, he played golf near us many times. A great man on and off the course, what a great example for the young men and women to emulate.
I will never forget the press conference when Arnold announced his retirement. .every time I watch it it brings tears to my eyes and chills throughout. .Arnold was an icon of class..he will be forever in our hearts..we will miss him..
Rob Mousaw syracuse NY
Thank you Arnie Palmer for your inspiration, your example, and your legacy. Thank you for your Golf, pro purses, IMG, The Golf Channel, half & half, my autographed photo, walking down the fairway with you, and the times you spent with my parents. I meant to write you a note when you might still read this. But I realize now, it means more that you cannot, and others can, as some truths are proven in ones absence. And so you are truly missed.
I would think that Wake Forest would have their flags flying at half staff because Wake Forest has lost a great and honored Alumni who represented Pro Humanitate his entire life and who was so very proud of his association with Wake Forest..I was one of the thousands of “Arnie’s Armies”..eager for just a glance at the King, to see his beautiful smile.. Godspeed Arnie!
A great moment for my late husband Col Jan P. Huggins WF ,’63, was getting to play golf with Arnold Palmer in Japan when he visited Tama Golf resort in 1984. It was a big day for Air Force golfers!
When our son was getting ready to turn 13, I decided to try and do something special for his birthday. Due to the fact that he played golf, I reached out to Arnold Palmer for an autograph. I never imagined that he would actually respond. However, he did respond and made a young man’s 13th birthday very memorable. All of this took place long before we knew our son would end up at Wake Forest or that Arnold Palmer had attended Wake Forest. His kindness touched our hearts and our lives and we will never forget what he did for a 13 year old boy.
I was a young girl when I first met Arnie and his father on the steps of the golf shop at Latrobe Country Club. My dad was an avid golfer all of his life and I often went with him when he played in Pro-Am tournaments along the east coast. I was fortunate to meet Arnie several other times over the years while working Senior golf tournaments in the Philly area with my dad. My dad loved and respected Arnie and so did I, which is how I became one of Arnie’s Army. I never would have dreamed that one day, decades later in 2013, after receiving my graduate degree from Wake Forest, I would get to watch Arnie ride with the Deacon on the Harley to Open the Gate for our football team. I will never forget all the wonderful times I had with my dad and his favorite golfer Arnold Palmer. You will never be forgotten by one of your “Army”. You lived the Wake motto of Pro Humanitate every day of your life and your legacy will live on in the heart of Demon Deacons forever. Rest in Peace Arnie and play a round of 18 with my dad in heaven.
My father was a contemporary of Mr. Palmer, but Dad went to NC State and became an engineer. Dad was a JayCee back in the late 50s/early 60s when Tanglewood was used as a PGA venue back when cigarette manufacturers could sponsor tournaments. My father LOVED watching Arnie, and taught us all to cheer for The King anytime he played. My father’s fondest wish was to play a round with Arnie. Several times I bid on silent auction items over the years that were playing with Arnie or signed momentos, but never managed to bid enough to get my Dad that round with Mr. Palmer. I lost my father earlier this year, and the first thing I could think of when I heard Arnie had passed was that now my Dad and Arnie could finally play that round together. I went over to campus tonight and spent awhile rocking on the porch, just talking with the wonderful statue, and making sure Arnie knew to find my Dad up in heaven and have that round. I’d met Mr. Palmer several times at various Deacon Club outings, and he was always the most gracious and attentive celebrity, even when he was obviously tired and not “up” for the occasion. Whenever his beloved Deacons were involved, Arnie was fully there. I would only wish every WFU graduate would be as industrious, gentle, gracious, accommodating, and a master of giving back to their alma mater like Arnold Palmer. He certainly taught me a lot about golf, and about being the best human being I could be. I hope to give back to WFU for as long as I can, just like Arnold Palmer. We will all miss Arnie — certainly The King!!
I remember watching him walk up the 18th fairway at Augusta in his farewell appearance and the roar from the crowd and the standing ovation that he received. It gave you a chill realizing how great this man had been for the game of golf and the legacy he was leaving, not only for the game, but for his many contributions to helping others. I attended 3 Masters and this was my favorite highlight. Long live the legacy of “THE KING”
I remember Arnold being at a Wake Forest party at the home of Jim Becton during the Masters. There were a large number of Deacons in attendance. Arnold stayed for several hours having his photo made with everyone who requested it. All of these photos were later personalized and signed by Arnold. Arnold Palmer was a gracious gentleman and a true Deacon.
I grew up knowing Arnold Palmer as a great golfer. However, his impact on my life was first felt when our daughter, Tara, was born 7 weeks prematurely at the Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando. She spent 10 weeks in the neonatal. During our time at the hospital we learned first hand of Mr. Palmer’s kindness and generosity. My husband and I became involved in the National Advisory Council for the Arnold Palmer Hospital and had the opportunity to be in his company many times at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, at the grand opening of the Winnie Palmer Hospital and at his 80th birthday party. No matter who you were he always made you feel special when he talked to you. He would always stop for pictures with our children and sign an autograph. Earlier this year, despite his failing health, Mr. Palmer took the time to write a letter of recommendation on behalf of our son to attend Wake Forest. Arnold Palmer was a great golfer but I think he will be remembered best for his extraordinary kindness to ordinary people.
In the early 1980’s, my family’s home club, Congressional, hosted the Kemper Open. My father, a member of “the greatest generation,” and a great guy, drew Arnie in the Pro Am one year. They also played with then, Sen. Sam Nunn – another great guy. I was just home from undergraduate school for the summer, and walked the fairways with them. As you might imagine, my father was thrilled – I am pretty sure the Senator was too.
Who knew, a son of two Maryland Terps, would wind up a Deac Law School Grad. I was thrilled too, as I had grown up on “Arnie’s Army.” Arnie was the gracious idol, so many words have already been written about. I met the man.
Go Deacs, and God Bless! Life well lived.
Permit me to tell you of my unique first meeting with Arnold Palmer.
It occurred during my senior year in the spring of 1957, in the midst of the first academic year after Wake Forest College had moved from the town of Wake Forest, NC to Winston-Salem, NC. When the college moved, the lawns outside of the now infamous quad were still mostly mud fields with immature sprigs of grass. The quad had newly planted elm trees so immature that it would have taken only one roll of TP to roll the whole lot of them, which is now the tradition after any important WFU win.
As a transfer student to Wake, what I soon discovered was a welcome warmth and heart-felt tie to the institution stemming from the personable faculty who seemed to be so closely knit to the small student body. And I recall an incident with Arnie that portrays the close ties between professor and students.
On the new campus, before many buildings were built, some classes were held in Reynolda Hall as was my math class with Dr. Hubert Jones, who was affectionately known as Pop Jones. Our class was located on the ground level of Reynolda and had no A/C; thus we had the window open for ventilation one day when suddenly, in the middle of class, Pop Jones said, “Well, come on in.”
He was looking toward the back of the room where, when we turned around, we could see a smiling Arnold Palmer crawling through the window. Arnie told us that Pop Jones was one of his favorite professors and wanted to stop by to catch up. So needless to say, the class of a dozen visited the rest of the class with Arnie and discussed his recent win of a Wilmington tournament and his results at the Masters where he had placed 6th. We discussed his victory in the U.S. Amateur Championship as a Wake student just a few years prior not realizing its impact to his springboard to professional fame. So I guess you could say our discussion of his numbers sufficed as our math lesson for the day. Arnie also gave us a Lesson on Relationships by demonstrating what a personable gentleman one could become while expressing Gratitude to one of his favorite professors.
My last meeting with Arnie was at a breakfast last year at Graylan when I recounted that story to which he and Kit both found great delight.
As a Wake Forest student in the early 70s, I attended most of the exhibition fundraisers the golf alumni would throw most years. One year, at Bermuda Run, I followed Mr. Palmer during the exhibition. One one water hole, he told the crowd he would skip the ball five times on the water before it would carry onto the land. Then he did it, just like a magician!
I covered golf for the Old Gold & Black during my senior year (1974) at Wake. This was the year Jay Haas, Curtis Strange & all won the NCAA. I had been drawn to writing about golf because of Wake’s superior tradition, started by Mr. Palmer. As a sportswriter at the Greensboro News & Record, I covered one of the Kemper Open tournaments in Charlotte during the mid-to-late 70s. Golf writer Meyer Anthony from Greensboro and I were in the locker room with Mr. Palmer. Meyer and I interviewed him for a lengthy amount of time, probably 30-45 minutes. He was gracious and kind and went out of his way to accommodate us. Truly a class act. He will be sorely missed by Wake Forest and by sports fans everywhere.
I will remember Arnold Palmer, as a fellow Deac and my undergraduate class’ commencement speaker in 2005. That day still resonates for me, perhaps now more than ever. Arnie concluded his speech: “You will soon be assuming parental roles, and I urge you to accept the responsibility that goes with it. Be the kind of parents who teach your children the basic traits and habits that make good citizens and good human beings. Teach them the common courtesies, good manners, politeness, and standards of behavior that will make each and every one of you proud.” For all his success in golf and business, Arnold Palmer was a humble gentleman and for that he will be missed and remembered. Thanks, Arnie.
He is on the Mount Rushmore of great Demon Deacons and, more importantly, of great human beings. Always a gentleman even while being a fierce competitor. RIP, Arnie, THE KING!
I’ll never forget one day twelve years ago when Arnold Palmer’s personal secretary responded in his behalf to a message I sent introducing Mr. Palmer to my son, a seven year old golfer who was born severely premature with motor skill delays. Youth golf helped my son overcome many of his fine motor skill deficiencies. I simply wanted Mr. Palmer to know that, knowing he and his beloved wife Winnie helped found a children’s hospital in Orlando. I’ll always treasure his response, “I want you to know you’ve got a player there.” What a great man with a great heart.
In 1994, my husband and I were in Tokyo when American Express was co-sponsoring a senior tournament in which Arnold Palmer was playing along with Jay Sigel, Gary Player and Lee Trevino. The friend we were visiting was head of American Express Far East and asked us to attend the final round on Sunday when he’d hand out the trophy. After the awards ceremony on the 18th green, our friend Steve told Arnold a fellow Deacon was on the other side of the green. He immediately walked over to us, and we talked for at least five minutes while thousands of Japanese fans were lining the walk from the green to the Clubhouse hoping to get an autograph. Knowing we’d be seeing each other at the reception, Arnold nodded to the crowd and said he’d better get going. I have this mental image of him looking back at us as if to say “help!” as he was completely engulfed by the fans. It took him at least 30 minutes to make his way to the Clubhouse, but what a gracious gentleman he was in dealing with the crush of fans.
Back in the late 70s, I was a photojournalist and had the honor to walk the course of the BC Open and follow Arnold and his army. While other golfers were so focused on the game that they wouldn’t interact with the crowd or talk with the photographers, Arnold engaged everyone. I think that is what made him so special. He actually bantered back and forth with some of us photographers and joked about his occasional bad shot. He was a class act, a gentleman, and a legend in the best sense of the word. Of all the athletes that I had the pleasure to cover, Arnold Palmer was the best!
I first heard of Mr Palmer when he won the 1956 Insurance City Open, his first PGA TOUR tournament in the U.S., as it was just 15 miles from my home. I cheered him on when I saw him on our black and white TV in the 50’s and early 60’s. Then in 1965 I entered WFU and I was certain that, however weak, I had some relationship to him.
Now the ICO is know as the Travelers Championship, and whenever it is played I think back to my first exposure to golf so many years ago. He really introduced the whole country to golf.
I have been among Arnold Palmer’s Army to watch him play the great game of golf! I also played on the golf course when Arnold was behind me & let him through because he was much faster at the game than I was. I also played on the old Wake Forest golf course where Arnold Palmer played when he was at Wake Forest.
One year at the Masters, probably around 2000, I was standing behind the rope between the 7th and 8th fairways, when Arnie’s tee shot landed right in front of me. I was wearing a WAKE cap. When he walked up and saw the cap, he shouted, GO DEACS! and came over and shook my hand. Man, was I proud. Everybody around me looked at me as if I was somebody. That’s the impact Arnie had on the people around him. I’ll certainly never forget that encounter with him. R.I.P. Arnie
The last time I saw Mr. Palmer was the Thursday of last April’s Masters. I was with my wife celebrating our 25th anniversary that day. Jack Nicklaus & Gary Player were about to hit the opening drives to start the tournament. Normally Arnie would join but was under the weather and just watched. As “The King” turned to get into his cart to exit, he saw me through the crowd with my Wake Forest golf hat on. He drove over, shook my hand firmly, patted my back and told me to enjoy the golf…. Arnold Palmer will always be a true hero to my family, my Dad and myself. The King’s everyman persona, charitable heart and charismatic face will be missed but will always live on.
I met Mr. Palmer at a Pro-Am at Pebble Beach in 2005. I carried a Pebble Beach golf flag with me to be signed by all the Deacs who were playing in the tournament. I got Watkins, Haas, Strange, and finally Palmer but when he signed it, he signed it upside down. He looked at it and I could see in his face how upset he was that he signed my flag upside down that I had to say “Mr. Palmer, it is ok, thank you”. That is the type of genuine person he was. Most big time pros just scribble and walk away. Some don’t even bother making eye contact. To have a legend apologize for his autograph speaks volumes of what type of person Arnold Palmer was. I only met him once and I can honestly say, I wish I had met him many other times. RIP Mr. Palmer, Go Deacs!
Mark J. Hoey
Wake Forest University M.A.L.S. 01′
I was at Bay Hill with a friend who was intimidated to approach Mr Palmer on the practice tee. I told him he need not be. We walked over and introduced ourselves. Arnold talked to us for 30 minutes and made us feel like honored guests.
We played in front of his group that day and watched him finish on the 18th. He had a 4 foot putt for par, and one of his playing partners said “Pick that up Arnie, you never miss those .” The king broke into a huge grin and said “If I never missed one of those, you would have never heard of Jack Nicklaus.”
The world of sport has lost its greatest ambassador. If someone wanted to create a playbook for how modern athletes should compose themselves, they need only to review the life and times of Arnold Palmer.
I was a freshman at WFU in 1961. Arnold Palmer was in town for a charity event at the Old Town Club for his deceased friend and team mate, Buddy Worsham. I followed him around at the Club with much awe. At the event, I ran into a man who was on the board of the prep school which I attended. He asked if I was going to the football game the next evening, and I said yes. He asked me to meet him at half time by the press box because he had a surprise for me. I did, and low and behold, he introduced me to Arnold Palmer. We talked for 10 minutes or so, and in spite of Arnie never meeting me before, he still treated me as if I were a friend. I followed his career with a passion, being lucky enough to attend several tournaments in which he was playing. What a great man, ambassador, and friend of the game, WFU, and all Americans. We’ll greatly miss you. Long live “THE KING.”
I posted this earlier on the deaconsports.com boards but wanted to do it here as well.
There is a country and western song entitled “Whose going to fill their shoes”….well let me tell you, not only is no one going to fill Arnold Palmer’s shoes, they in fact do not even make those shoes any more. As was said in the movie “Brian’s Song” by famed running back Gayle Sayers “I love Brian Piccolo” so the world loved Arnold Palmer and always will. I have one of those famous autographs (from a watering hole in Endicott NY when he played in the Enjoi Classic in Upstate NY in 1973, I think) as well as meeting him several times beyond that meeting. If there was anyone else in the room when I met him neither of us knew it. It is absolutely true….Arnold gave you his total attention when you were in his presence. He was Wake Forest and everyone ever associated with the university is better off for Arnold Palmer being an alumnus. Rest in Peace Arnie and GO DEACS!!!
Arnold Palmer was the keynote speaker at the Wake Forest “All Sports Banquet” in the spring of 1963. I attended that banquet as a starter on the tennis team. Tennis, golf and certain other sports were labeled back then as “minor sports” while football and basketball were labeled as “major sports.” Mr. Palmer emphasized in his speech that “there is no such thing as a minor sport and all sports are major.” That speech left a lasting impression on me and made me quite proud to be a member of the tennis team. I was fortunate to meet Mr. Palmer after the speech and obtain his autograph.
Ross Griffith ’65
Having grown up in PA , Arnold Palmer was the reason I applied to Wake Forest, The “King” was responsible for putting Wake on the National Map.
Wake Forest should treasure the history of Arnie’s Army and embrace his 2005 Commencement Address opening statement…..”I come from modest circumstances, and I was determined to be successful in my adult life.” Hard work… Determination…. Dedication… and Believing in Yourself are the watchwords of this great and generous man. Wake Forest should never lose site of this when admitting new students. May his ” Common Man” legacy live on. Pro Humanitate
Much has been written and said about the greatness of Arnold Palmer on and off the course and much better than I could ever do it. I met Mr. Palmer several times on the golf course and one off. Off the course I met him while I was working at Wake Forest Golf Club in Wake Forest, NC. Oddly enough the club was not even built when Mr. Palmer played and attended Wake Forest University when it was at the original campus in the small town. He was in town attending an alumni event at the old campus. I was working in the pro-shop when he walked in. I had just graduated from Wake Forest two years earlier and am always proud to meet a Demon Deacon, but to be in the presence of the greatest Demon Deacon of all time…I was awestruck. It was just me and our club accountant in the room. He immediately introduced himself (like he actually needed to do that) and told us that he just wanted to stop by and check out the course since it hadn’t been here when he was in school. I immediately told him that I was a Wake alum and we immediately began talking Wake Forest sports and the like. It has been said many times, but he truly makes you feel that you feel like you have been friends forever. Through my career I have had the opportunity to be around some pretty famous athletes and entertainers. None of them is able to interact with fans and the general public like Arnold. He is also the only one that I was ever truly awestruck to be around. To share the designation of being a Wake Forest Demon Deacon with Arnold Palmer is something special even if I had never met him. The list of Wake Forest graduates is long and distinguished, but I feel Arnold Palmer stands at the top. I am a huge golfer, but don’t get to play as much as I want. Funny how yesterday afternoon I managed to make a last minute tee time and play 18 holes right by myself and I happen to be wearing my Wake Forest gear in celebration of a great victory on Saturday. As it turned out, I was celebrating a great golfer, a great Deacon and most importantly a legendary human being. Rest in peace, Mr. Palmer. Your legacy will live on forever.
This man was a gentleman and a gentle man. His smile revealed the kind and loving man he was. I so appreciate the fact that he did not take himself too seriously….golf, yes, relationships, yes, giving back, yes.
I’m married to a Deanon and the mother of 2, and I love and appreciate WFU!!
My father was a fan of golf and later became a club professional and PGA member. In our house Arnold Palmer was really the only player that mattered. His style for playing his own game, winning, and friendly competition was important but the person that he showed the world was even more important. His love for life, for family, for his community, and continuing love for the game. My thoughts are with his family. I am sorry that he has passed away but will always be glad of his connection to Wake Forest and the game of golf.
I was 8 or 9 years old when my father took me to the practice round at the Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas and I first saw the King. He was practicing in a bunker. He had at least 50 balls in the bunker, and as he hit them onto the green, his caddy picked them up and tossed them back into the bunker. We walked away but came back about 30 minutes later, and he was still in that bunker practicing. My father commented:”Son, now you know what it takes to be a champion!” My lifelong love of the game was born that day. Rest In Peace, Arnie.
Arnie was a great golfer, but more likely, an even better person. The world and the Wake Forest community has truly lost an icon. My path crossed Arnold’s on several occasions, the first being when I was 10 years old and Arnie, along with Gary Player, came to Brookfield West Country Club in Roswell, GA to play an exhibition. Somehow, someway, I ended up inside the ropes walking with Arnie. I remember just chatting with him walking down the 7th fairway. I certainly did not belong, but he did not see it that way. At some point, I was pulled back outside of the ropes, but not before Arnie signed my program and wished me and my golfing future well.
Well, as fate would have it, I ended up attending Wake Forest. I am not sure that I knew that Arnold graced the old campus. Shortly thereafter, I joined the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, which Arnold was also a brother. Arnold remembered us by giving us money to purchase new lounge furniture during my years at Wake.
Many years later, while attending a Master’s practice round, I ran into Arnie, Jack and Gary Player playing in the par three tournament. I reminded Arnie of the exhibition at Brookfield West and he said that he remembered. I kind of doubt that he did, but he made me feel good again.
My final time with Arnie was at Groves Stadium. I was on hand when Arnold “opened the gate”. He still looked like he ready ready to “hitch up his pants” and get in the game. He gave me a high five on his way out.
I hope that our crossings continue when I get to heaven. I know that you are now organizing the Heavenly Seniors tour. A piece of advise though – don’t bet against Jesus – water hazards are no problem for him. Until we meet again, the honors and the heavenly tee are yours…
I was a member of the 1979 Tangerine Bowl Team; after we lost to LSU, Arnold Palmer visited our team in the lockeroom and said, “I am proud of you guys.” This demonstrated his genuine care and concern for others.
I first met Arnold Palmer as a student at Wake Forest in the early 1960s. He was gracious enough to come visit some of his professors in their classes and those of us who were present got to talk to him. Later, at age 29 in 1970, I was honored to become a founding member of the Wake Forest Presidents Club, which he chaired. Those first meetings were held at his golf course in Orlando. He impressed me with his love of Wake Forest and the need to see it well endowed. Although he was a supreme athlete and worldwide personality, he never hesitated to listen to students and young adults. Wake Forest will truly miss him as a friend, but he will remain as an inspiration to Wake and its generations through his example and character.
Charles H. Taylor and Elizabeth Owen Taylor
Will never forget when he spoke to the football team after the pregame meal before the Orange Bowl. He told them how much Wake Forest had meant to him and how proud he was of them. He had tears in his eyes. Also he was the team’s honorary game captain at the coin toss for Wake Forest and Muhammad Ali represented Louisville.
I had the great fortune to hear Arnold Palmer speak at Wake Forest in the mid-1990s. As a law student, it was rare that I ventured out of the Worrell Professional Center onto the rest of the campus. However, a chance to hear “The King” speak was an opportunity that could not be passed up. He did not disappoint. What an inspiring gentleman!
Although all sports fans will miss you, those of us with ties to Wake Forest may the most. We were all enriched and inspired by your steadfast devotion to your alma mater. May you rest in peace, Mr. Palmer.
In the year 2000 I was in Pinehurst and woke up early only to find Mr. Palmer enjoying a cup of coffee on the front porch. We discussed our mutual Wake Forest connections and I told him the following story.
In 1970 I was at Wake Forest basketball game and my father pointed out the legendary Arnold Palmer sitting two rows back. My dad suggested I go up and get an autograph. I walked up to Mr. Palmer and introduced myself and asked him if he would like my autograph.
Mr. Palmer laughed and then I asked him if he still had my autograph. We both enjoyed a good laugh. What a remarkable man.
“My dad told me, ‘Get the right grip. Hit the ball hard. Go find the ball, boy, and hit it hard again.’”
It’s too good to be true that the father of Wake Forest’s proudest son was named Deacon. See you on the 19th hole, Arnie.
A great man is measured by his/her contributions, a talented by their accomplishments. Arnold Palmer earns an “A” in both.
My wife and I are members of the class of 1961 and we followed Arnold through the glory golf years. We admired him more as a man than a golfer
but he was the best in both areas and in life in general. He always made us ” Proud To Be A Deacon”. He gave so much back to Wake Forest
and everyone he came in contact with. Legend is greatly overused but not in Arnold Palmer’s case.
We all heard the terrible news this evening that Arnold is gone.
He was famous, admired, inspiring, generous, noble, ethical, wildly successful, caring, humble, warm and sincere. But as incredible as this may sound, he was so much more.
The first time I set foot on Oakmont Country Club, it was as a spectator arriving to watch the U. S. Open. It was also the first time I saw Arnold in person. In truth, I heard him first – or his shot, at least. He was in the tall fescue and he made such a loud, agricultural sound as his club cut through the deep rough that I turned, in shock, to see what was happening!
It seemed like three feet of turf and vegetation clung to his iron as he held the shot in his follow through. Then I traced the sight line from his unwavering gaze to the green over one hundred yard away and saw his shot, still with some stop on it, come to rest four feet from the pin.
It was a right way to be introduced to my hero.
I saw him again, much later in his life, trying in vain to compete in a senior’s event at Laurel Valley, and the same at Allegheny County Club. I always thought I would introduce myself if I had the chance. But I didn’t, because he’d already blessed me, and I thought it best to save his energy for those in line who didn’t already know him.
The best thing Arnold ever did for me came directly from that fact that, until he couldn’t hit the first tee shot at Augusta this year, Mr. Palmer woke up every day, fully believing that today might be the day he’d discover, “a little something,” on the practice tee that was going to allow him to return to golfing greatness. Was that futile? Was he just kidding himself?
Some would say so. But they don’t understand what it meant when Arnold could still win big cash and beat other greats at an event like The Skins competition, where you could blow up on one hole, but birdie the next to take home a jackpot. The skeptics also can’t comprehend what it meant to everyone watching when Mr. Palmer snaked in a twenty-eight foot double breaker from the back of the green in the par three contest at the Masters.
I’m sixty-six years old. And every night, I still do sixty to seventy pushups and dozens of ab crunches in an effort to gain more driving yardage than I had as a kid. And I’ll always believe that I can do new and better things in business, and in the important relationships of my life. I’m far from giving up, because I’m a kid compared to the age my hero was when he still strode the fairways.
His magnificent physique diminished. But one thing never did. When it came to competition, Arnold always had the heart of a lion.
Late yesterday afternoon I drove by Laurel Valley Golf Club on my way home from the Highland Games in Ligonier, PA. Even though I’d passed that way many times, yesterday was the first time that it really struck me how humble, and simple the sign is to mark the main entrance to that great club that Arnold helped to found. But then again, if you are, indeed great, you don’t need to promote the fact. People just know.
My late husband and his 2 sons attended and loved Wake Forest. My husband and as I am sure Mr. Palmer, attended Wake Forest when it was located in Wake Forest, NC. Mr. Palmer graduated before my husband George, and I am not sure if there paths ever really crossed. One of my favorite stories though is about my mother’s sister, my Aunt Jean. She was a nursing student at Rex Nursing School in Raleigh NC. A friend of her’s fixed her up with a blind date, a young man from Wake Forest. It was Arnold Palmer. My Aunt would tell what a gentleman he was. She said they had fun that evening, but he was such a serious student, she felt that he just really was not interested in pursuing female relationships the time. She felt so fortunate to have known him and was able to watch him become a legend and a hero. If Arnold was playing golf on TV, we all made a point of watching and cheering him on. We all felt he belonged to us, but he really belonged to the World.
I really can’t ever remember hearing anything negative about Arnold Palmer. I am so glad that I lived in the same time that he did and that my stepchildren also knew of him and of his kindness and generosity to the sport of golf and his beloved Wake Forest.
Arnold Palmer received an honorary degree in 1970, the year my Brother John Samuel “Skip” Queen graduated. It was always a story/joke in my family that Arnold actually winked at my Mother. He was always one of her favorites. What an amazing man! Such an honor to share being a Wake Forest Demon Deacon with him.
In the early 80’s I was married to a club professional at Country Club Orlando where I also worked in the golf shop.
One of our members was in charge of Bay Hill Tournament that year, and invited Arnold to the CCO member guest as his guest.
He was most gracious and fun, And caused much laughter at the dinner that night by commenting it was the only time he’d ever won a low net prize!
Arnie, RIP man. You were a legend. My grandfather(Bill Starling) knew you well and adored your friendship and company like no one else. My favorite story my grandfather ever told me was about Arnold Palmer. My older sister was born in 1995 and was Bill’s first grandchild. That night Wake Forest beat UNC at basketball. Arnold called my Grandfather to congratulate him on his first grandchild. It was what Bill described as one of the greatest days of his life!
Just thought I’d share as this shows what kind of a person and friend Arnold Palmer was. Any one who met him truly knew how great of a man he was. Wake Forest will miss him greatly, but always remember him as THE Legend.
The golf world lost its best ambassador Sunday. This legend was a true hero as well. I remember watching him play in the 1956 Masters. He inspired me as a young teenager to pursue golf as a means of exercise. I am now 74 years old and wish I could play golf every day – I never played like a pro but I enjoyed playing at playing golf. “Now you may rest, Arnie, as you have bettered the world for having played on it!”
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