BY ADAM HEATER
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to play golf or a time when my dad wasn’t my golf coach.
My dad taught me a lot about being a golfer and a good person. But first, he learned these things from the likes of Arnold Palmer.
I was raised being told that golf “depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind and character.”
I probably would’ve quit golf in my early years, because I was a lot like most 10-year olds. I was impatient, and I didn’t want to play a game that was slow and had a reputation for being enjoyed by drunk old men.
But I was always competitive, most of the time to a fault. I looked through a journal I kept in 4th grade, where I made two New Year’s resolutions: to lose weight and to be less competitive.
So I didn’t give up on golf because I was too competitive for that. And I wouldn’t admit that I lost.
When I would practice every day for the next seven years of my life and I wanted to take a day off, or I wanted to give up all together, the wisdom of Arnie echoed in my head: “The more I practice the luckier I get.” Then I would go back to the practice facility.
Because after all, who doesn’t want to be like Arnold Palmer? He is undoubtedly one of the greatest golfers of all time.
He’s won seven major championships.
Majors are the most prestigious golf tournaments in existence. Seven major wins places him in elite company, top ten amongst all golfers ever.
But Arnold Palmer’s legacy lasts far beyond just the golf course. Most people know Arnold Palmer as a drink.
Half lemonade, half iced tea, all amazing. At the PGA’s press conferences, the players were offered one of two drinks: iced tea or lemonade.
Arnold Palmer became notorious for mixing the two, and it was there and forever known not as a “half & half,” but as an Arnold Palmer.
That man was not just a golfer in my eyes. That man was a hero of mine for as long as I can remember.
He taught me how to play the game of golf and the game of life with a competitive fire, but also with a capacity for enjoyment. He showed me how to love every moment of my life and of the game of golf, even at times of adversity.
Next time you are drinking an Arnold Palmer, pour some out for The King.