While flying out to Calgary this past Saturday to visit with family I had the time reflect on random things that popped into my ever starving brain. One of those random things was the life of Arnold Palmer. Having had the privilege to meet the man twice and each time Mr. Palmer was polite, courteous and professional. This got me to thinking about an early life of mine at a club not to far from here and how a seemly innocent renovation project could have such significance.
"Having had the privilege to meet the man twice and each time Mr. Palmer was polite, courteous and professional."
I was transported back in time when the club decided to give the Men’s locker room a much-needed facelift. The old and tired room was going to be brought up to more modern standards. During the reconstruction phase an event occurred out of public view that had a rather profound impact on me.
You see I consider the locker room a sanctuary of sorts, a place to escape even for a short time from the trappings of a troubled and often cruel game, much like the calm after a storm.
The Club had the great distinction of hosting three National and one Provincial championship up to that point in time. The 1972 Canadian Open brought the best of the best from that day, with the only exception missing being Jack Nicklaus. The club hosted the likes of Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, and Canada’s own George Knudson. With a full field of the best players in the world, one can only imagine the locker room banter that took place among these world class players. It was Gay Brewer who came out on top in 1972 to best the field with a 9 under par at the completion of the 72nd hole tournament.
"The club hosted the likes of Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, and Canada’s own George Knudson."
It has been well documented that during the 1972 Canadian Open the showers were well used to clean up after the heat of the July sun brought out a little more perspiration than one might have expected when playing up here in “Canada, eh.” One such player who was a regular to the shower stalls was the “King” himself, Mr. Arnold Palmer. Making the walk of walks from Bay 7 to the showers and back was no small feat, even for a king. But it is said he did so with grace and style, and without even a stumble.
“One such player who was a regular to the shower stalls was the “King” himself, Mr. Arnold Palmer.”
This brings me to my moment of moments when walking through the renovated chaos of the construction, I happened upon a lone worker eagerly swinging a sledge hammer and smashing the tiled cinder blocks of the old shower stalls. It then occurred to me this lone worker was demolishing a well-used piece of the club’s history and he wasn’t even aware of it.
I asked him, “Would it be too much to ask for you to stop your smashing of these tiles and blocks just for a minute?” Seeing the look on his face, I immediately realized his bewilderment, and had to clarify my request.
“To my surprise this good man not only stopped, he stood erect and removed his cap, as did I, and we both drank in the moment.”
“You see the showers stalls in which you are destroying were once used by one of the greatest golfers of all time, Arnold Palmer. It is only fitting to stop and ponder the significance of that lone and simple act of a daily shower and who it was who stood in these very stalls.”
To my surprise this good man not only stopped, he stood erect and removed his cap, as did I, and we both drank in the moment. Through sheer reverence and respect, no words were spoken, until I finally bid him to, “Carry on.” I then turned and headed up to the Grillroom to complete my assignment, which was to see what was for lunch.
There you have it; a hallowed bit of history, but one might think twice when they enter a club’s locker room and ponder where they stand and who it could have been who stood there in days gone by.
See everyone next week,