The legacy of The King

Arnold Palmer attracting a large crowd at a practice round

Arnold “The King” Palmer was born on September 10, 1929. He led a great life, and he inspired many people. Unfortunately, the great man’s life ended on September 25, 2016. Just 15 days after his 87th birthday.

For this story I was able to talk to Elder High School Golf Coach Mr. Gary Rogers, Junior Golf fanatic Timmy Rinear, and a man who was able to meet Arnold Palmer many times: Tom Keehan.

The first question I asked them was, “What is your favorite memory or story about Arnold Palmer?”

Tom Keehan holding an autographed picture of Arnold Palmer while wearing an autographed Arnold Palmer visor

Keehan told me, “My favorite memory of Arnold Palmer was when he came to the senior tournament at Kings Island, and I ran into him in the parking lot. Arnold Palmer was always known as somebody who tinkered with his golf clubs, and he was standing in the parking lot rewrapping his grips with a leather strip. Everyone waited patiently while did that then he signed a bunch of autographs.”

Rinear told me, “A couple a years ago I was watching The Masters, and I was watching the par three contest the Wednesday before. He knocked in a hole-in-one when he was 85 years old.”

Mr. Rogers told that he had seen a lot of books about The King lately and said, “One of the stories I remember was either in the 1964 or 1960 U.S. Open was held at Cherry Hills in Denver, Colorado, and Denver is a mile above sea level so you can hit it extra far: about 30% farther. The first hole was a par four, and Arnold drove the green and made an eagle.”

With stories and memories like these, it is easy to tell how big of a positive impact Arnold had on people’s lives. Even for high school students like Rinear and me.

I next asked them about Palmer’s greatest accomplishment.

Mr. Keehan and Mr. Rogers both told me that it was he played, acted, and raised the game of golf to the next level. He took it from a sport without much media attention compared to baseball or basketball to a much higher level with much more public attention.

The author holds a gallon of Arnold Palmer

Rinear told me, “This has nothing to do with golf, but he is a leader in the beverage industry with the Arnold Palmer half iced tea half lemonade.”

As a consumer of the Arnold Palmer half iced tea half lemonade beverage, I would like to vouch for how good it is. It is a great deal too. A big can for only 99 cents.

I also asked them to describe Arnold Palmer’s legacy.

Rinear told me, “If you look at how many tournaments he has won he is way up there. He has so many w’s that it is not even funny.”

Mr. Rogers told me, “He played the game the right way. He was a classy winner and a classy loser. The fact that he and Jack (Nicklaus) had so many head to head battles. It really helped the game of golf grow.”

Mr. Keehan told me, “I think Arnold Palmer’s legacy is going to be one that lasts a long time because he had such a great impact on the game. He carried himself in a very professional manner at all times. He always took time to talk to people. He always took time to sign autographs. The autographs he signed were always nice and neat. When he would show up, there would always be bigger crowds.”

It is undeniable that Arnold Palmer had one of the biggest, if not the biggest, impacts on golf in all of the game’s history. He always had a positive attitude about himself, and he always took time for the fans. He was a fan favorite that everyone wanted to watch play. He is possibly the most important figure in the history of golf.