King of the Hill

Golf season is underway. Though, if you live with a golfer, as I do, golf does not have a season. It has a lifestyle.

This weekend is the Bay Hill Classic, a favorite on the PGA tour, due to its honoree; course developer, (and sentimental home of) Arnold Palmer.

Arnold Palmer was born on September 10, 1929, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. His father was a country club groundskeeper, which brought the game of golf to Arnold from birth. He had a simple start, working at that humble golf club in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, to superstardom as one of the most beloved golfers, and men, around the globe.

Palmer was a highly successful business executive, skilled aviator and author. Besides his golf performance record, his magnetic personality and unfailing sense of kindness and thoughtfulness to everybody with whom he came in contact endeared him to millions throughout the world. This led to the informal formation of the largest non-uniformed “military” organization in existence – Arnie’s Army.

Palmer was a “stay-at-home” guy when he wasn’t on the road traveling. He would awaken each day at 5 a.m. at Bay Hill, go for a jog or a walk with his dog and then get in a workout before having breakfast. At his desk by 8 a.m., Palmer would attend to a business empire eventually worth around $700 million, featuring golf course design and ownership, a clothing line and the iced tea and lemonade concoction bearing his name.

“Business first, golf second,” longtime friend and Bay Hill resident, Howdy Giles said while describing Palmer’s routine.

Rarely did a day go by when a member of Arnie’s Army did not approach him for an autograph or photo.

“People would come up and say, ‘Mr. Palmer, I hate to bother you…,’ while he was eating lunch,” pal, Giles, recalled. “He would always stand up and shake their hand; if it was a lady he would hug her. Most of these pros would blow you off.”

“That’s why he was The King; he did things other people don’t do.” People were attracted to Arnold Palmer because of the kind of person he was.

He never lost his common touch. He was a man of the people. He looked people in the eye and had a handshake that was genuine and passionate. He had strong hands. A fellow golfer stated: “He had some mitts.”

Palmer spent countless hours in his workshop grinding soles, re-gripping clubs and even building them from scratch. He certainly could afford to have those things done but that was not his personality. He loved to discover and build and create. He loved to tinker.

Palmer died on September 25, 2016 (shortly after his 87th birthday) while awaiting heart surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Arnold Palmer had some great quotes. One of my favorites is this: “The more I practice, the luckier I get.”

Success did not come easy for Arnold Palmer. He did not even have the prettiest of golf swings. However, he worked hard. He never forgot his commonality. He made every person he met feel special.

It’s Serious Sunday. On this day, let’s take a lesson from The King. Kindness and respect can dissipate tension, end arguments, prevent fights and even stop war. They can make you a hero, even a king.

What a mighty power for something that is completely within our grasp.


Author: Rebecca Hendrixson

Hello, I'm Rebecca. I am a wife and mother and freelance writer. I love to share honest thoughts, anecdotes, incidents and encouragement. I am documenting my one year of being 60 years old. Join me on the journey. And please leave comments or send me an email. I will respond. We are all in this together. Come be my comrade.

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