My father grew up in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. According to tales from his youth, it sounds like the western Pennsylvanian version of Pleasantville. Each summer as the Pittsburgh Steelers rolled in to town for training camp, towhead boys sprinted out of unlocked screened doors in hopes of trading Mean Joe Green a bottle of pop for a sweat-soaked jersey.
This small, blue-collar town is fiercely proud of three things: Rolling Rock Beer, inventing the banana split and golf legend Arnold Palmer. Though Rolling Rock may have been swallowed up by Budweiser and shipped off to St. Louis, that town will never lose its adoration of Arnie.
As I’ve listened to stories from my father, read about his career and even stood in a crowd on a blistering 4th of July to see Arnie’s tractor, I’ve grown to appreciate that adoration. Palmer has lived an exemplary life that resonates with the hard working people of Latrobe, and can teach us all lessons that extend far past the tee box.
Develop your style
From his trademark sweaters to his revolutionary beverage concoction, Arnold Palmer developed just as much of an identity off the course as on. His play was bold, his demeanor was charming and his style was classic. And it worked for him. Find your style, be yourself and look sharp. It may just get you places.
Appreciate the people who got you there
When my father was young, he worked as a tennis instructor at Latrobe Country Club—then owned by Arnold Palmer. Later, when my dad was applying to the MBA program at the University of Alabama, Palmer was willing to take time out of his professional career to draft a letter of support for him and express his appreciation for my father’s hard work. Palmer recognized that no one successful ever gets anywhere on their own. He reached the pinnacle of the golf world with the help of those around him, and he was willing to pass on that same courtesy.
Create your own luck
“It’s a funny thing, the more I practice the luckier I get,” Palmer once retorted. And he was right. The same goes for golf as it does business, relationships and hobbies. You may hit a hole in one by chance, but you don’t win 7 major championships by coincidence. If you are open to new opportunities and practice to put yourself in a position to be successful, you’ll find yourself becoming more and more lucky.
So pick up a pink sweater, enjoy an ice cold Arnold Palmer and get out there and make some luck. Take charge, be a part of Arnie’s Army.