The King’s contribution to Angel Park will be cherished for generations to come
Among avid golfers, golf course design and the designers who create them are a big deal. A prestigious name stamped on the blueprint adds credibility and gives golfers a glimpse of what to expect in quality and caliber – sight unseen. Angel Park Golf Club is fortunate enough to have both golf courses designed by the Palmer Course Design Company under the astute eye of the King himself as well as onetime partners and protégées Ed Seay, Bob Cupp and John Fought.
“It really means a lot to have Mr. Palmer’s work here at Angel Park,” said Chuck Bombard, director of golf at Angel Park Golf Club. “He truly paved the way for the modern game of golf. His accomplishments and character are something we all celebrate as golfers. We’re honored to have a small piece of Mr. Palmer’s legacy here at Angel Park.”
Palm and Mountain Courses: Designed by Arnold Palmer
The Palm Course opened for public play in 1989 and the Mountain Course followed in 1990. Seay worked alongside Palmer on the original design of the Palm, and Fought and Cupp handled a renovation in 1993. Palmer and Seay teamed up once again to launch the Mountain Course. The result was two of the best public golf courses in Las Vegas. In fact, Angel Park has been listed in the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s “Best of Las Vegas” Readers Poll as the Best Golf Course in Las Vegas nearly 20 times over the years.
Palmer spins through sin city
In addition to Angel Park, Palmer also designed the two courses at nearby Red Rock Country Club. But as one might expect from a guy with 62 victories on tour, including seven majors, Palmer posted his fair share of competitive rounds in Las Vegas.
He was a three-time winner of the Tournament of Champions held at Desert Inn Country Club. The first time in 1962 Palmer nailed a birdie putt on the final hole to prevail. His prize? A wheelbarrow loaded with 11,000 silver dollars. Palmer managed to top Chi-Chi Rodriguez to take home $14,000 after his second win in 1965, and in ’66 he outlasted his opponent in an 18-hole playoff to earn $20,000. While it was never about the money for Palmer, this particular example of stair-stepping payouts definitely laid the groundwork for the giant purses of today.
Palmer wrapped up his playing career in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Senior Classic where he placed T9 in 1986 and fifth in 1987. Despite not winning, simply entering the field created a buzz in the event’s first two years of existence.
From golf competition to golf course creation
From collegiate golf at Wake Forest to his 1954 U.S. Amateur win and four Green Jackets, Arnold Palmer played the game as well as anyone. Then, add a U.S. Open Championship to a pair of Open Championships, and he becomes a legend in professional golf. This is the legacy most will remember. But many fans within the ranks of “Arnie’s Army” may not know of his affinity for golf courses design, which dates back to his childhood at Latrobe Country Club to roughing-in a nine-hole pitch-and-putt while serving in U.S. Coast Guard to designing hundreds of award-wining golf courses.
“Designing golf courses has been part of my life as far back as I can remember,” Mr. Palmer said.
Viva the King
Among the iconic images, it is Palmer’s huge smile, huge heart and especially his swashbuckling follow-through that are most likely to be remembered. As the second anniversary of his passing approaches – September 25, 2018 – it is important to take a moment to reflect on the myriad ways Arnold Palmer changed the game. And even though his design work at little-ole Angel Park may not sit at the apex, it will be cherished for generations to come.
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