Arnold Palmer: A Dedicated Patron
We were very proud to call ‘The King’ Arnold Palmer our Patron since our inception.
Arnold passed away on Sunday 25th September 2016 at the age of 87. During his incredible career Arnold amassed 72 wins worldwide, (62 on the PGA Tour and 10 on the Champions Tour), including seven Major Championships. As well as his phenomenal success on the course, ‘Arnie’ was much loved off the golf course by his peers and fans alike.
A former Yeoman in the Coastguard, Arnold always had time for others and said the following in April 2011;
“When I met a small number of the injured servicemen in Orlando through On Course, I was profoundly moved and hugely impressed by their courage and determination in facing what seems to me enormous adversity.
Golf has been such a huge part of my life and to see that our beloved game can be used as an integral tool in the rehabilitation of soldiers from around the world fills me with great pride.
I am deeply honoured to be Patron of an organisation that crosses all political and religious barriers in supporting those who have given so much to their respective countries at such high personal and emotional cost. It is a genuine privilege to be able to support and highlight the growing number of courageous individuals who are too often forgotten.”
(Arnold Palmer, April 2011)
Our Founder John Simpson knew Arnold for many years;
I first met Arnold Palmer in 1978 when I joined IMG. Arnold was Mark McCormack’s first client and between them made professional sport what it is today. I have never heard a bad word spoken about Arnold and everybody’s mother loved and adored him. In the early days, he and his wife, Winnie, were very good to me and I have very fond memories of them both.
Being a veteran himself, he had a great affinity with injured vets and when I told him about my idea of starting the On Course Foundation to teach golf and find employment for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, I could think of no one better than him to be patron which he willingly accepted. As you can see from the photo he was superb. Every year we take 10 new OCF members to the Marriott Grande Vista in Orlando for a week’s introduction to golf. Arnold always invited them to Bay Hill and made them feel so welcome.
We thank Arnold for everything he has done for On Course Foundation and I am sure that we are not alone in thanking him for his influence in growing the game of golf.