The international response to the death of Arnold Palmer, ASGCA Fellow, speaks to the positive and long-lasting impacting he had on the game of golf and those who play it. Along with his success on the course, Palmer will be remembered for the long-term impact of Arnold Palmer Design Company (APDC), the golf course architecture firm that was formed 50+ years ago.


Palmer’s legacy in golf will include the men and women who worked with him, and at, APDC over the years. The list includes: ASGCA Past President Frank Duane; ASGCA Past President Ed Seay; ASGCA Past President Erik Larsen; Harrison Minchew, ASGCA; Vicki Martz, ASGCA Fellow; Bob Walker, ASGCA; and Thad Layton, ASGCA Associate.

Palmer received the ASGCA Donald Ross Award in 1999. ASGCA’s highest honor, the Ross Award has been presented annually since 1976 to a person who has made a significant contribution to the game of golf and the profession of golf course architecture.
Comments on the death of Arnold Palmer, ASGCA Fellow:

ASGCA President Greg Martin, ASGCA

Saddened to hear of Arnold Palmer’s passing. Arnold Palmer was golf.

He created the modern era through his play, his passion, personality, business acumen and golf course architecture. Arnold Palmer was admired because he was the everyman, doing exactly what we would all love to be doing. King indeed.

From the ASGCA family our heartfelt condolences to the entire Palmer family.

ASGCA Past President Erik Larsen, ASGCA

I was privileged to work for the King of our beloved sport. He walked in a way that not many people did. We can learn from that in how we carry ourselves every day. He was a gentlemen.

In fact, it isn’t fair to just talk about his contributions to golf and philanthropic endeavors. He was an American hero. I would have been proud to work with him for one day, let alone 28 years.

Thad Layton, ASGCA Associate

Hard to believe Arnold Palmer is gone, he seemed invincible. Never have I met such a fighter and a man of true integrity; he was the genuine article. It was an honor to have worked alongside him over the past 20 years at Arnold Palmer Design Company, sharing his enthusiasm for the game he loved through his work. His legacy will live on through the countless lives he touched along the way and the beautiful courses that bear his name. 

Vicki Martz, ASGCA

I have been thinking a lot about what a sincere and genuine, true “gentle man” he was. When he focused on you, you were the most important person in the world. That was how he was with everyone.

Personally, I value the opportunity he gave me. He was gender blind, which was unusual in the mid-80s. He told me I could be whatever I had the talent for and wanted to be. He valued my participation within the company.

It was groundbreaking. I had the wonderful opportunity to learn not only golf design at his elbow, but also off the course and how he expected you to conduct yourself in business.

He was a mentor and he was my friend.

Jan Bel Jan, ASGCA

In January 1985 I met Arnold Palmer for the first time. My sister and I went to Bay Hill to play golf with three golf writers from Scotland. I was in the golf cart while they went for a snack. Mr. Palmer saw me sitting alone and came to the golf cart and said, “Hi, I’m Arnold Palmer.” I introduced myself then asked if he remembered my uncle, Carl BelJan, PGA pro from Pittsburgh, and did he remember playing with him in the 50’s? Mr. Palmer brightened and recalled that they had played together when he was an amateur and recollected going to my Dad’s driving range in Murraysville, Pennsylvania on US 22 where they and others met on occasion for long drive contests. When they finished, “a shot and a beer” followed at a local saloon (as they were called at that time in that area). 

ASGCA Past President Clyde Johnston, ASGCA

It is a sad day for all of golf with Mr. Palmer’s passing. My father (Clement B. “Johnny” Johnston) was his golf coach at Wake Forest, but Palmer was a life-long hero to me.

Bob Walker, ASGCA

Like the entire golfing world, I am very saddened by his passing. As I watch the tributes to his life, it is remarkable how he touched so many people’s lives in such positive ways. He was instrumental in my becoming a golf course architect by introducing me to his partner, Ed Seay, and recommending my employment in his golf course design company in 1974. I sometimes wonder what direction my life might have taken had I not met Mr. Palmer and for special interest he took in me and in my career. It was an absolute honor to have worked for him, to have spent time with him and to have known him as the extraordinary person he was. 

Harrison Minchew, ASGCA

Although a very sad day with Arnold’s passing I have enjoyed so much going through my mind the gush of Wonderful Arnold Palmer Memories. Being from Augusta and saying working for him was a thrill would be an understatement at best. He will always be the ultimate legend in golf but growing up in Augusta in the late 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, on all but Sunday morning, Arnold Palmer was God!

Although he had an incredible ability to play golf in a truly exciting way, his gift was the way he engaged people…his eye contact, a smile, and the unforgettable handshake all done with a sincerity that he truly was interested in you!

Today was surreal in the gush of memories. So very special to reminisce so many of my shared experiences with Erik, Vicki and so many others. Those that worked with him all had the privilege of experiencing truly the person anyone would ever aspire to come close to being. I can truly say out of the public eye he was the Gem that everyone thought he was.

Working with and for him will always be a cherished blessing! He will always be an American Hero, one that was all about having fun with those he was with, a true giver and whose compass was the Golden Rule. The world is a better place having had Arnold Palmer.