Here are 10 things we learned from Arnold, on and off the course. Editor's Note: This article was originally published after Arnold Palmer's death in To Arnold, it meant something else. It included the fundamentals but also the intangibles, like how far you hit each iron, your tendencies on sideslopes and downslopes, how to play in the wind or to stay calm under pressure. Arnold thought a system could partially be taught but that it mainly was self-discovered.
On the flip side of this nontraditional style choice, he loathed beards, hats worn backward or indoors and shirts left untucked. He was a principled dresser and always a trendsetter. In the s, he rocked a navy-blue cardigan like nobody else.
In the '70s, he went with bat-wing collars and mod patterns, and in the '80s, hard-collar shirts with long plackets. Even in recent decades, his look commanded attention. He had quirks, too, favoring pink shirts and breaking out a new pair of golf shoes every week of competition. But he was basically old school. It was Arnold who brought the shoot to a halt while he bragged about the golf game of his granddaughter Anna Wears, then How she drove it yards, was breaking 80, was the most athletic of all the grandchildren, and on and on until photographer Walter Iooss Jr.
Young people got Arnold's attention. No athlete signed more autographs for young fans, endorsed more youth initiatives, put in more calls of support.
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A small example of his largesse: In , when Arnold was turning down far more endorsements than he was accepting, he agreed to lend his name to P. Then there's the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, a highly regarded pediatric hospital that was a passion of Arnold's since it opened in His foundation donates to many causes, but the common denominator is that they're all for young people.
To him, it was as intrinsic to the game as swinging the club. He did it for health and enjoyment but also to help him play better. When physically-handicapped tour player Casey Martin went to court to be allowed to ride in PGA Tour events, Arnold reluctantly—but firmly—took a stand for walking. Arnold never voluntarily rode during competition as a senior and lobbied against the use of carts on the senior tour. It will clear your mind of the last horrible shot, so it doesn't ruin this one.
Learn to tune out some of the distractions on the course. If someone drives up in their golf cart just as you're ready to swing, STOP. Back away from the ball, refocus and start your swing routine again. Getting steamed at their inconsiderate behavior will only distract you and make you play badly. Keep loose. Tension is the enemy of a good golf swing.
Focusing on anger and problems is guaranteed to ruin the rest of your game.
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Once you get really angry, you won't be able to make a decent hit for the rest of the round. Don't sweat the small stuff. Go on to the next hole and be sure to hit the putt a little harder. Warning: Remember, if you lose your temper, that other golfers won't want to play with you in future. Read the Green Look for the curve and slope of the green's surface.
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Practice the Pendulum Putt Think of your two arms reaching down to the club as the pendulum of a clock. Visualize the Putt Use your eyes to trace the path the ball will follow to the hole. Keep Your Wrists Straight This is part of the pendulum stroke. Practice Your Chipping This is a sure-fire way to improve your putting. Working on My Golf Attitude Becoming a golfer requires quite a bit of persistence and willingness to suffer for your game. The harder you try, the harder the game gets. That's my reminder that when I take a humongous swing, I'm more likely to whiff miss the ball than to make it to the green.
A bad day of golf beats a good day of work. On days when I struggle with my swing, my putting runs amok, and I'm rummaging in the bushes for a lost ball, I remind myself of this philosophy. Take a look around you on the golf course at the beautiful swath of green, the graceful trees, and the birds chirping. Isn't it great to be outside? There will always be better golfers than I will ever be.
I enjoy the game a lot more if I just compare my score to my previous one. Trying to improve my game and just beat my last score is better than feeling bad because I'll never beat Tiger Woods.
Golf is not a game you will ever perfect. Remind yourself that the challenge of golf is what keeps it interesting. If it were easy, you would get bored and quit. No one will ever get 18 holes-in-one in a single game. Pick One Swing Thought Only. Stay away from that sand trap: Unfortunately your mind latches onto the last part and what do you know, there you are in the sand trap. Never focus on a hazard in a swing thought.
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It seems to have the reverse effect. The ball is bound to end up in the water or sand if those are part of your swing thought. I hope they are out of range: If you are afraid of hitting into the group ahead, it pretty well guarantees a terrible hit. Wondering if the group ahead is still within range is the wrong thought to have in your head as you swing. Don't risk hitting someone or duffing the shot, wait until you are sure it is safe to hit. Is this a fire ant hill that I'm standing on? Fire ants are ferocious biters. If you are in Florida, check the location of any alligators before starting your swing.
Should I use my 6 iron? Make up your mind and go with it.
Doubting your club choice in the middle of a swing is bound to result in disaster. Choose carefully based on the conditions, then have confidence when you swing. Keep your head steady, don't lift up, swing smoothly: Multiple swing thoughts distract and result in a poor swing. Choose just one and focus on it. Keep your focus. Trying to correct too many problems at once guarantees a bad swing.
Choose one aspect of the swing to key on and you'll have better results. Bonus Advice Hey, that was a funny joke: Blank out the chit-chat once you get to the tee box. If you're a golfer, what's your favorite swing thought? What's Your Favorite Swing Thought? Tips for Playing Ready Golf Golf is a game of rigid etiquette. In modern times, players often play "ready golf.
It is important to ask the players in your foursome if they want to play ready golf. If golf tradition is important to them, you need to go along with that. I've never had anyone insist on that. Most people are glad to speed up the play a little with ready golf. In traditional golf, the player with the honor best score on the last hole would tee off first. If all players are ready, then give the person with the honors the first chance to hit.
As the play proceeds down the course to the green, players go ahead and hit their ball without waiting for someone that maybe just a little further away. This cuts down on time standing around while someone switches clubs or searches for a ball. Once you hit your ball, help the other player look for the lost ball. Always keep safety in mind before approaching your ball to hit. If other players are behind you, you will be in their way. If they don't see you, you could get hit. If the player furthest from the hole isn't ready, let them know that you'll hit first.
Even in ready golf, once everyone is on the green, it usually reverts to the one furthest away putting first. Comment on a good shot they made.