Golf lost a legend this week with the passing of inimitable sportsman Arnold Palmer on Sunday at the age of 87.
While Palmer’s talent on the links was undisputed with seven major championships and 62 PGA Tour wins —including the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the Masters four times — perhaps his most lasting legacy to the golf industry is the way he made it accessible for the everyman. “Arnold transcended the game of golf,” said Jack Nicklaus. “He was more than a golfer or even great golfer. He was an icon. He was a legend.”
A native of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Palmer learned to play golf at the tender age of 4 and never really stopped. During the course of his career, Palmer became the first person to make $1 million playing golf. Thanks to his go-for-broke style and inherent charisma, he developed an impassioned following who called themselves “Arnie’s Army.”
He was, in a word, transformative. He was “the King.”
Palmer’s contributions extended far beyond the course, too. He was widely considered a pioneer in sports marketing, building a massively successful brand out of his name including (but not limited to) a wine collection, golf course design and popular apparel emblazoned with his trademark umbrella logo.
But he left his mark on the business aviation industry as well. In 2009, he began lending his voice to the “No Plane, No Gain” campaign — an advocacy program jointly sponsored by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the General …