They Inspire

Arnold Palmer: The Coast Guard, The Golfer, The Drink

Emilee White

When you hear the name “Arnold Palmer”, depending on your generation, you might be thinking of something different than the person next to you.

For some people, they might think of the drink, the Arnold Palmer, made up of equal parts lemonade and ice tea. It all started back in the 1960s. Palmer was known to order the lemonade-ice tea drink, and one day, while at lunch, a woman overheard him order his usual drink and decided to order one for herself. She was quoted saying “I’ll have that Arnold Palmer drink, too.” Ever since then, the Arnold Palmer drink has become one of the most consumed beverages in the United States.

Before he was known for his famous drink, Palmer made a name for himself in the golf world. In 1954, Palmer went pro in golf, saying to Golfweek,

“What other people find in poetry, I find in the flight of a good drive.”

Palmer’s rookie season started with a win at the Canadian Open and three years later, won the 1958 Masters Tournament. Palmer had successfully established himself as one of the best early on in his career, which set him up for an amazing and long run in golf.

On the business side of his golf career, Palmer established the Arnold Palmer Design Company — formerly known as Palmer Course Design — and designed 300 golf courses in 37 states, 25 countries, and five continents, and even designed the first modern course that was built in China, according to Golfweek.

But what most people don’t know was that prior to his golf career, Palmer was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard. His service lasted three years after Palmer enlisted in 1951, but he never stopped golfing. Palmer even said that his time in the Coast Guard helped in his success in the golf world.

“I have to tell you it was one of the greatest things I ever did,” Palmer said in a 2012 interview. “They helped me find myself. It was three of the best years of my life. The knowledge that I gained, the maturity that I gained in the Coast Guard was unbelievable. It matured me — it made me a better person.”

Palmer passed away in 2016 at the age of 87 and while he may be gone, Palmer’s legacy continues to live on in the Coast Guard, on the golf course, and in his favorite drink.

Photo credits: Courtesy of Arnold Palmer's Official Instagram Page