Brother Arnold Palmer

“I’ve always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me. I never quit trying; I never felt that I didn’t have a chance to win.” Arnold Palmer.

One of the finest golfers of all time, Arnold Palmer was a charismatic and naturally gifted player, who would go onto rank fifth in the all-time PGA Tour’s winner’s list. He’s widely credited for being the man who broke down the social boundaries of golf, and made the once elitist sport widely enjoyable for the common man. Let’s take a look at the life of Brother Arnold Palmer in more detail.

Brother Arnold Palmer. Portrait by Brother Travis Simpkins

From humble beginnings

Arnold Palmer was raised in the blue-collar steel mill town of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He got into golf by sneaking onto the local country club at night [where his father was greenkeeper], and practicing around the greens accompanied by his mother.

When he served with the U.S. Coast Guard in his formative years, he built a simple nine-hole pitch-and-putt course so he could practice. He won his first notable tournament in 1954, where he claimed the U.S. Amateur in Detroit.

‘Athlete of the Decade’

Just four years later, Palmer won his first Masters tournament, and claimed the prize another four times over the next six years. Between 1960 and 1963, he won an incredible 29 titles. This led the Associated Press to name him as the ‘Athlete of the Decade’ and his popularity began to grow.

He became one of the first American golfers to complete and win abroad, winning the British Open titles consecutively in 1961 and 1962.

The Master Mason and businessman

Away from golf, Arnold Palmer became an accomplished and astute businessman across a variety of sectors, and was also known for his philanthropy and generosity. He was initiated into Loyalhanna Masonic Lodge #275 in Pennsylvania. He rose to the degree of Master Mason here and was an active part of the Masonic community for many years.

In 1997, he received the honor of being made a 33-degree Scottish Rite Freemason in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. Alongside his natural charm and charisma, Palmer’s contribution to charitable causes throughout his life was championed, and he received many humanitarian results as a result.

His legacy

After passing away in September 2016, former on-course rival and great personal friend of Palmer, Jack Niklaus, said:

“Arnold transcended the game of golf. He was more than a golfer or even a great golfer. He was an icon. He was a legend. Arnold was someone who was a pioneer in sport. He took the game from one level to a higher level, virtually by himself.” There’s little doubt that the Craft has benefitted from the contribution of men like Arnold Palmer. Long may his legacy live on. We would love to hear your memories and recollections of Arnold Palmer the man, the Mason, and the golfer. Let us know in the comments below.