Beyond being a record holder and the man who transcended the sport of golf to elevate it to unprecedented levels, Arnold Palmer was a teacher and a guide to golfers across the world. It didn’t matter your skill level, age, race, or anything, really — Arnold Palmer just wanted to help, and praise you for your accomplishment.
These letters from Palmer, snail mail treasures, would be one constant in his decades involved in the game.
Now that The King has passed, his fans, fellow golfers (it’s hard to use “peers” when it comes to Arnold Palmer) and those he touched have come out to share his generosity. In many cases with someone the stature of Palmer, a check can be written, a photo op is scheduled and everyone moves on. But Palmer would not only personally congratulate golfers on their wins, but he would reach out to those asking for advice on how to live life.
In 2014, Palmer wrote to 18-year-old Nate Marcoulier, whose brother wrote to Palmer hoping the legend would offer up some help with the college-bound young golfer. He wrote:
Courtesy and respect are timeless principles, as well as good manners. Knowing when to speak is just as important as knowing what you say. Know how to win by following the rules. Know the importance of when and how to say thank you. Never underestimate the importance of a good education.
The whole story is absolutely worth the read. And of course, the letters didn’t just come from Palmer, the correspondence would flood into Palmer’s office, and that’s what kept him going for 87 wonderful years.