When Arnold Palmer was designing the back nine at Latrobe Country Club, he wanted to create something that was innovative, yet reflective of western Pennsylvania's rich culture and traditions. He found his inspiration in a watery hazard. A picturesque creek cuts comes into play on several challenging holes on the back nine. So instead of building utilitarian rain shelters on this part of the course, Palmer decided to construct covered bridges that could provide protection when storms kicked up. These beautiful, red, covered bridges are so popular that artists and photographers from across the United States now come to Latrobe just to capture their image.
When Latrobe Country Club was founded in 1921, the golf course was
built on farmland. It's hard to imagine today, but back then there were
very few trees on this relatively open parcel of land. So, Deacon
Palmer embarked on a massive tree planting campaign. About 75 percent
of the trees found on the course today were planted by Deacon. One of
them, a red pine between the first and eighteenth hole, died recently
and was in the process of being cut down. Arnold Palmer suggested that
the stump be left and converted into a giant carving of his father. His
brother, Jerry, hired renown local woodcarver Joe King to transform the 12-foot
red pine into a sentimental tribute to their father. King has since been commissioned to construct Arnold Palmer likenesses at popular Palmer courses in Virginia Beach and Roanoke, West Virginia.
It's the tractor that Deacon Palmer taught both his boys, Arnold and Jerry, to drive. One day, some Pennzoil advertising executives came by the course and asked Doc Giffin, Arnold 's Administrative Assistant, if the Palmers, by chance, had an old piece of equipment around that was still on duty thanks to regular doses of Pennzoil. They thought it might make a nice commercial. Giffin said, " Sure, come on and take a look." He took them out to the maintenance barn and the rest is history.
Palmer-Pennzoil tractor went on to become one of the most recognized advertising icons in
television history. Though it was never meant to leave the grounds of Latrobe Country Club, its celebrity has led to invitations to shows all over the United States during which people pose for pictures with the humble machine. And in 1994, the first paying customers began arriving at The Lawn Museum at Penn State University where one featured exhibit included a Toro tractor on display because it is “similar to the one Arnold Palmer rode in old Pennzoil television commercials.”
Golfers who come to Latrobe Country Club for outings ask to see it so often that it's become customary to park it right by the first tee so no one leaves disappointed. Once when Arnold Palmer was in Las Vegas receiving a golfing award before a big audience at the MGM Grand Hotel, emcee Bob Hope joked, "I know Arnie is here. I saw the his tractor parked out front."