Ryan Walker

Arnold Palmer famously thanked God for the game of golf and golf has given me so much throughout my life, most of all an opportunity for rich relationships.

As a child, my grandparents lived next door and my grandfather and I were exceptionally close.

He was a college athlete, played football at Pitt and held too many Pennsylvania state records to count. I grew up playing sports with him, none more so than golf.

When I first picked up a set of clubs in high-school, I was hooked. I thought incessantly about improving my game and making the Varsity team. Any chance he could, my grandfather would get out to the course with me to practice and play. Golf was our bond.

My Dad and sister played too, so there were often three generations represented. I won’t soon forget these memories of time together.

But one memory sticks out from the rest. During my sophomore year of college, my grandfather came to visit. Per usual, we had to squeeze in a quick nine before he hit the road for home. That would be the last round we would play together and our last conversation. He was quite sick at the time, but it didn’t hold him back from doing what he loved. Maybe it’s just me, but I like to think he knew it would be our last round together, I think we both had a feeling that this would be the case. Some of the things he said to me that day I will never forget.

“No matter what happens, always be humble and grateful for what you have, work incredibly hard, and above all else, love life every day and good things will come to you.”

Because of golf, I was able to spend countless afternoons with my late grandfather and learn so much about his incredible life. I am honored to be the last person to walk the links with him. It is a day I will always remember with gladness.

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