How Arnold Palmer Invented His Namesake Drink and Still Rakes in Profits

Even though he passed away in 2016, golf fans still identify Arnold Palmer as one of the all-time great legends in their sport. Palmer’s legacy is one of persistence and excellence on the golf course. But that’s not the extent of Palmer’s legacy. You may have his name the last time you visited a restaurant or bar. 

Let’s take a closer look at the namesake drink that Palmer invented and how his estate still profits from it to this very day. 

Arnold Palmer’s career overview

Arnold Palmer
Arnold Palmer | Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Before Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, or even Jack Nicklaus, Palmer was golf’s greatest player. He dominated the 1960s in ways that few others have in other decades.

Even when he had passed his prime, Palmer was a mainstay on the Senior Tour, continuing to rack up victories well into his twilight years. Palmer career PGA Tour earnings were around $2.1 million, adding $2.2 million on the Senior Tour.

His comprehensive earnings when factoring in non-U.S. Tour earnings stand at over $6.9 million. 

Palmer’s 62 career Tour victories are one of the highest totals of all time. He had an additional 18 international victories with 12 Senior Tour wins to bring his all-time total to 92. Palmer’s win totals include seven major wins: four wins at the Masters (1958, 1960, 1962, and 1964) one U.S. Open (1960) and two wins at the Open Championship (1961 and 1962). 

One glance at his record of achievements on the golf course leaves no doubt that his legacy there will forever remain intact. But it’s not the only place fans will remember Palmer. 

The history of the drink named The Arnold Palmer

If you’ve ever been to a golf course pro shop or almost any restaurant, you’ve probably heard of the drink known as “The Arnold Palmer.”

It has a recipe as simple as its contents are delicious: half iced-tea, half lemonade. According to an interview with ESPN’s 30 for 30, the story behind how Palmer concocted the beverage is also fairly simple: 

“My wife made a lot of iced tea for lunch, and I said, ‘Hey, babe, I’ve got an idea. You make the iced tea and make a big pitcher, and we’ll just put a little lemonade in it and see how that works.’ We mixed it up, and I got the solution about where I wanted it and I put the lemonade in it. I had it for lunch after working on the golf course. I thought, ‘Boy, this is great, babe. I’m going to take it when I play golf. I’m going to take a thermos of iced tea and lemonade.’ “

Palmer’s idea for combining two already popular drinks led to the creation of what has become a very popular beverage not just on the golf course, but anywhere drinks are made and/or sold. 

The legacy of “The Arnold Palmer” drink

Known for more than his success on the golf course, Palmer was also a very successful businessman. According to one Forbes report, he was one of the founders of The Golf Channel and also played a big role in shaping the modern form of sports marketing. He also has a popular line of golf apparel.

The report also states that Palmer’s estate earned around $40 million after his death due to his various business endeavors. 

But it’s his famous drink that still resonates with fans almost as much as the man’s golf game – and in some cases, even more so. Palmer launched a line of beverages in 2001 with AriZona Beverages.

According to their research, they found that 60-70% of consumers in the 13-35-year-old age range actually associated Palmer’s name more with his drink than his golf career. 

That’s proof that while Palmer will always be remembered for his golfing ability, he’ll also be remembered for the delicious drink he came up with.