The gift that Arnold Palmer ‘gave back’
In the early 1980s, Arnold Palmer was invited to a five-day golf experience and teaching expedition to Saudi Arabia by one of the princes of that country. Arnie was a little hesitant to go, but since it was not in the golf tour season he agreed. Palmer spent five days playing golf with the prince and actually enjoyed his time there, living in the lap of luxury and enjoying all the fruits of royal treatment.
At dinner on the final day, the prince informed Palmer that he would be sending him a gift. Hesitantly, Arnie said that wasn’t necessary. The prince insisted and Palmer flew back to the states. He thought of the many possibilities of the kind of gift that might be forthcoming. His prime consideration was a solid gold putter or other such club. Perhaps a jeweled Rolex watch. Maybe, just cash.
For six weeks Arnie checked his mail…nothing was forthcoming. Finally on the sixth week the gift arrived. To his utter surprise it came in the form of a legal document, a deed to a 465-acre golf club in the beautiful, rolling countryside of western Pennsylvania. A club indeed…it was an entire golf club and course! That same course has become one of the finest public courses in all of Pennsylvania courtesy of Arnold Palmer.
As an addendum to this story; my nephew, a pediatric urologist and head of that service at Case-Western Reserve in Cleveland, has traveled to Saudi Arabia and other near east countries at the behest of “rulers” to treat their children. His trips were always rewarding, receiving first-class treatment in all respects and was well paid in addition to a Rolex watch or two. What a shame he doesn’t play golf.
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Lawson Little, “It is impossible to outplay an opponent you can’t outthink.”
Martha Backman, “Man blames fate for other accidents but feels personally responsible for a hole in one.”
Lee Trevino, “You can talk to a fade but a hook won’t listen.”
Johnny Miller, “When Jack Nicklaus played well, he won. When he played badly, he finished second. When he played terribly, he finished third.”
Chi Chi Rodriguez, “The winds were blowing 50 mph and gusting to 70 from my back. I hit a par 3 with my hat.”
Lee Trevino, “One of the nice things about the Senior Tour is that we can take a cart and cooler. If your game stinks, you can always have a picnic.”
Henry Beard, “The odds of hitting a duffed shot increase by the square of the number of people watching.”
Jack Nicklaus, “A perfectly straight shot with an oversize club is a fluke.”
Rev. Billy Graham, “I never pray on the golf course. Actually, the Lord answers my prayers everywhere except on the course.”
Sam Snead, “Thinking instead of acting is the number one golf disease.”
Lee Trevino, “There are two things you can do with your head down — play golf and pray.”
Bobby Nichols, “Nothing goes down slower than a golf handicap.”
Unknown, “Golf is an easy game…it’s just hard to play.”
Arnold Palmer, “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening — and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.”
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I’d like to add a few personal lines to thank my friends, readers and, yes, strangers who sent more than 100 get-well cards, flowers and gifts, but most of all prayers during my wife’s prolonged illness. At a time when the far end of the tunnel appeared shut down, those prayers tried to snap on the light so that she could see and reach the other end. I am ever so grateful!