ARNOLD PALMER IMPRESSES A 17-YEAR-OLD PA BOY WITH HIS GRACE!
MacGregor
Jones
1963

In the Summer of 1963, my fifth year playing golf, the "YORK AREA JAYCEES" invited Arnold Palmer to play an exhibition match, at the Briarwood Golf Club, in York, PA - and he accepted the invitation!  They invited Mr. Charles Strack, a popular local professional, who was a teammate of Arnie's at Wake Forest, to play in the foursome; the third player was Mr. Clair "Pete" Miller, a very accomplished and well-known York-area amateur champion; and I was flattered and overwhelmed to be the fourth player - a local junior player who was fortunate enough to win a number of local tournaments and one State Junior Championship.  Mr. Palmer was already my "golf" hero and the player I rooted for at every opportunity, and I wondered if the dream of playing a round, in front of a gallery, with Mr. Palmer and two of my favorite local golf heroes, would ever come true.  The date of August 9th, 1963 finally arrived.  I was way too excited to eat lunch at the York Country Club - all I could think about was the GREAT OPPORTUNITY that was about to happen.  Mr. Palmer arrived at the York Airport, spoke at the reception luncheon, and finally we were off to the Briarwood Golf Club.  There were about 2,000 people in our gallery; I told Mr. Palmer I was concerned about hitting someone in the gallery, as they lined both sides of the first fairway - a sight I had never experienced!  Mr. Palmer said, "You'll get used to playing in front of a crowd, and I know you can do it - now let's get started, and, by the way, you're first on the tee!"  Arnold Palmer shot 67 that day, I had 75, and I can still remember every shot of that round - over fifty-three years ago.  I have competed in nearly a thousand tournaments in my career, I have always loved the great game of golf, there have been many great and extraordinary players I have known, watched, and competed with, and Arnold Palmer was the most memorable, gracious, thoughtful, and extraordinary golfer (and person) that I have ever had the pleasure to play with - and it happened when I was just a seventeen-year-old boy who was befriended by a great man, a legend, and certainly "The King"!