PGA establishes Deacon Palmer Award

The PGA of America has established the Deacon Palmer Award, named after Arnold Palmer’s father who overcame personal obstacles to succeed as a PGA Professional. The 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 at the 98th PGA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis this November, was bestowed posthumously upon its namesake, Deacon Palmer, and accepted by Arnold Palmer, whose only coach was his father ‘Pap’. His proper name was Milfred Jerome Palmer and was known around Latrobe, Pennsylvania as “Deke”.

“I am most appreciative that the PGA has chosen to honor my father with this award,” said Arnold, a proud PGA member since1960. ” 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 developed a strong upper body. He worked with a limp, but that did not hinder his love and passion for the game of golf. He enjoyed playing with club members and developed his own strong and sturdy golf swing. When introducing Arnold to the game Deke said simply, ” Hit it hard boy. Go find it and hit it hard again.”

Deacon Palmer worked on the construction of Latrobe Country Club as a teenager in 1920. He became heads grounds superintendent in 1926 and named head professional in 1932, a position he would hold until his death in 1976. Deke was elected to the PGA membership in 1946.

“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 have Arnold Palmer accept it on behalf of his late father.”

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