Arnold Palmer’s connection with Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh has resulted in the emergence of a new trophy bearing both his name and one of his old clubs.
The unlikely link was formed when Andrew Haddow, an old Merchistonian, struck up an acquaintance with Palmer through visiting him at his family home in Pennsylvania.
Through that relationship, seven-time major winner Palmer gave Haddow one of the gloves he used during the 1966 Masters and, having been mounted on a plinth, it became the Merchison Castle School Arnold Palmer Match-Play Trophy.
Now that trophy is the 1-iron that Palmer used at Augusta National the same year, with around 70 pupils, led by members of the school’s flourishing Golf Academy, set to compete for it for the first time next year.
“Just to be associated with the great man is fantastic and we are grateful to Andrew Haddow for that,” said the school’s director of golf, Alan Murdoch. “To also have a trophy bearing his name, and it now being one of his old clubs, is just brilliant. In addition to the 18 players currently in our Golf Academy, we’ve got three other groups that are involved in the golf activity programme on a weekly basis, so we could have between 60-70 pupils playing for it.”
During his visit in the mid-1960s to Latrobe, PA, where Palmer’s ashes were spread earlier this month following his death at the age of 87, Haddow caddied for the man known in golf as “The King”. He also went with him to watch an American Football game involving his old school.