PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The PGA of America has established the Deacon Palmer Award, named after Arnold Palmer's late father who overcame personal obstacles to succeed as a PGA Professional. The Deacon Palmer Award bestows special recognition upon a PGA Professional who personally displays outstanding integrity, character and leadership in the effort to overcome a major obstacle in his/her life.
The inaugural award, presented today at the 98th PGA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, was bestowed posthumously upon Deacon Palmer. The award was accepted by Arnold Palmer, whose only coach was his late father.
â€œI am most appreciative that the PGA has chosen to honor my father with this award," said Arnold Palmer, a PGA member since 1960. "It recognizes the outstanding work of the golf professionals of the PGA of America, and I know that my father would appreciate that. He was very dedicated to the game of golf and to the people who work in the golf profession."
After being stricken with polio as a child, Deacon Palmer developed a strong upper body. He walked with a limp, but that did not hinder his love and passion for golf. He loved to play with club members and developed his own strong and sturdy golf swing.
Deacon Palmer worked on the construction of Latrobe (Pennsylvania) Country Club as a teenager in 1920. He became grounds superintendent in 1926 and was named golf professional in 1932. Deacon Palmer was elected to PGA membership in 1946. He died in 1976 at age 71.
"Deacon Palmer was more than the father of a son who ascended to the pinnacle of golf," said PGA of America Interim President Derek Sprague. "He became a shining example of the golf profession. In the spirit of this humble man from Western Pennsylvania, the PGA of America is extremely proud to establish the Deacon Palmer Award and to have Arnold Palmer accept on behalf of his late father."