Ironclad Provenance Includes Signed Letter from Palmer Himself.1940's Arnold Palmer's First Golf Clubs--The Set He Used to Learn the Game! The year was 1948 when a young Carl Markwood approached Deacon Palmer, golf pro at the Latrobe (PA) Country Club to ask if he might have a suggestion about where he could purchase an inexpensive set of used clubs. Markwood had been a schoolmate of Palmer's son Arnold, who frequently purchased penny candy at the Markwood family store. Now a decorated young linksman with victories at the amateur 1946 and 1947 WPIAL Championships and various other Pennsylvania tournaments, Arnold had upgraded his equipment, leaving his first clubs behind at the family home. "I think I may have a set that would suit you," Deacon told Carl.
Over six decades later, that used set of clubs makes its collecting hobby debut in this Heritage Platinum Night Auction, a seminal artifact from one of the most decorated and well-loved figures in golf history. The set is comprised of seven First Flight hickory-shaft irons and two Louisville woods, still housed in the tweed and leather Spalding bag a teenaged legend-in-the-making once toted around his local Pennsylvania courses. All pieces exhibit solid wear but remain undamaged and attractive witnesses to golf history.
The incredible supply of documentation begins with a signed letter from Palmer on his personal letterhead:
This is to certify that I have personally seen the clubs in the possession of Casey Markwood, a set of seven First Flight hickory shaft 'irons' and a set of two Louisville 'woods', and can attest they are one of my original sets of clubs. I would like to congratulate Mr. Markwood on this fine purchase from my father, Deacon Palmer, which I understand to have taken place at the Latrobe Country Club in 1948.
Also included are three photos of the clubs signed on verso by Palmer, two snapshot photos of Palmer and Markwood together signed by Palmer, a photocopy of the 1945 Latrobe High School yearbook's golf team page picturing Palmer (signed in print), a 1971 Sacramento Bee newspaper clipping entitled "Sacramento Doctor Awaits Reunion with Schoolmate" announcing an impending Palmer event and noting that local resident Markwood owns these clubs, and a letter of provenance from Markwood himself.
Match used relics of any format from this first golf icon of the television age are rarely seen and intensely coveted by Arnie's Army, but here we find an exceedingly rare treasure without which all those to come would never have manifested. How often is one faced with the opportunity to revisit the first page of a great sporting biography? The savvy collector will see this for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity it is, and bid accordingly. Full LOA from PSA/DNA (autograph). Full LOA from James Spence Authentication (autograph). Letter of provenance from Arnold Palmer.
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