ARNOLD PALMER AND LAMKIN GRIPS: 60 YEARS AND COUNTING
We recently sat down with Lamkin CEO, Bob Lamkin, to discuss the company’s long relationship with golf’s reigning King. The company’s connection to Arnold Palmer dates back nearly 60 years and has clearly had a very big impact on its evolution.
How did the relationship between Arnold Palmer and Lamkin begin? The relationship began during Arnold Palmer’s playing career. He used Lamkin Leather grips and that was the first connection to the company. All of the players in the fifties played leather grips, and Lamkin was the leading supplier of leather grips to Tour Players.
Tell us about meeting Arnold Palmer for the first time. I was 15 years old, working the Western Open at Butler National in Chicago. My father, Bob Lamkin Sr., gave me leather grips to personally deliver to Mr. Palmer. A formal introduction and the beginning of our friendship began at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills CC, in Tulsa; about 17 years ago. We had dinner together, and I was in awe. It was amazing how comfortable he made me feel after only 10 minutes. He made me feel like we had known each other forever. The following year, Peter Malik, who is a friend of mine, asked if I would be interested in having Mr. Palmer officially endorse Lamkin Grips. I jumped at the opportunity.
What have you learned from him, personally, that has been the most influential? The most important thing I learned from him is that you treat EVERYONE with respect. Everybody that he meets, every interaction I have had with Mr. Palmer, on and off the course, he treats everyone with respect and gives them his undivided attention. Mr. Palmer had a great relationship with President Eisenhower, and he would treat the President as well as the person carrying his clubs with the same dignity and respect. That is without question the most meaningful characteristic that has really inspired me, both personally and professionally.
What is something that EVERY golfer could learn from Mr. Palmer; both on and off the course? You never truly master this game; whether you are the weekend warrior or Arnold Palmer who has won major championships. It is forever a quest to get better. It takes continuous improvement and unwavering effort. Your game will fluctuate. That is part of what makes golf so great; you never perfect it. What Mr. Palmer personifies on the golf course, is that you go through ups and downs, and you learn from that and you get better from it, but only if you continue to work at it. I take this ideology and apply it to my business, and of course my golf game.
What are the characteristics of Mr. Palmer that are most consistent with the core values of Lamkin Grips? Arnold Palmer is the epitome of Lamkin as a brand. He personifies our core values: how he grew up, his work ethic, his character, his passion for the game and his passion for people and making a positive impact on the community. It can be accomplished through golf, and outside of golf. Mr. Palmer has given so much back and done so much for the community. Without a doubt, golf is a better game because of Arnold Palmer. I am a better person for having the privilege of knowing Arnold Palmer.