Arnold Palmer had a huge impact on the Grand Strand

Arnold Palmer had a huge impact on the Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – In the front of the clubhouse at Myrtle Beach National there stands a statue of Arnold Palmer and for those who got the chance to meet him they don't doubt why.

"Well, Arnie was the king of golf," said Steve Mays, the director for marketing and sales for The Founders Group International. "He was the king; literally was the king."

Grand Strand residents were remembering Palmer on Monday, one day after news came out that the golfing legend had died.

"It (golf) was deemed as a rich person's sport. Arnold Palmer made it cool and made people want to play golf," said Bart Romano, the head golf professional at True Blue Golf Club.

As many see Palmer as the crowned king of golf they also have him to thank for making Myrtle Beach the golf destination it is today.

"You know, he was the everyman's golfer," Mays said. "We are the everyman's golf destination so there's a lot of parallels between his rise to popularity and how Myrtle Beach rose to popularity in the world of golf."

He added Palmer was also a man of firsts in that he started the Golf Channel and was seen as the first television sports star.

Myrtle Beach National holds three of the first courses Palmer designed including two holes that, according to Mays, best capture his personality.

They are Kings North and the Gambler.

"We have an island green. It's a par five. It's a small island green so it's a big risk for going to that island green," Mays said. "There's a great reward if you can get there because it's a much shorter hole. So the golf course really matches his personality."

Palmer also designed the Rivers Edge Golf Club in North Carolina.

Aside from being a risk taker, those who met Palmer said he was one of the most down-to-earth men they had ever known.

Though he's gone, many Myrtle Beach golfers said they will never forget the man Palmer was or the legacy he left behind through the game of golf.

"You know that's why everyone loved him, because he did connect and when you spoke to him you felt like you were the only person in the room and he was a very humble man and that was a piece of his appeal," Mays said.

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