You can play where Arnie learned how to play

Lobby at SpringHill Suites in Latrobe, Pa.
Courtesy of SpringHill Suites Latrobe
The walls of the SpringHill Suites in Latrobe, Pa., are covered with reminders of Arnold Palmer's career.

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Monday, October 08, 2012 | 1:58 p.m.

Every golfer worth his or her salt knows that Arnold Palmer grew up at Latrobe Country Club in Latrobe, Pa. The club has always been private, but now any golfer can tread the fairways where Arnie learned to play the game.

Palmer is a part-owner along with Marriott of a new SpringHill Suites hotel in Latrobe, and golfing guests who stay there can get playing privileges at Latrobe CC. The hotel, in fact, is right there on Arnold Palmer Drive, just down the road from the club.

"When I bought the club many years ago, I always thought that we would have some sort of a connection to a hotel," said Palmer at the recent grand opening ceremony. "In recent years the land became available. All the things kind of worked out that would suit what we wanted to do."

The hotel includes 109 suites, along with a golf-themed bar and dining area. Memorabilia from Palmer’s career are displayed throughout the facility.

Palmer, of course, was born and raised in Latrobe, about an hour’s drive southeast of Pittsburgh. His father, Deacon, helped build Latrobe CC as a nine-hole layout in the 1920s as a young man. By the 1960s, the owners had accumulated enough nearby land to expand the course to 18 holes, and Deacon and Arnold were both heavily involved in creating the new holes and remodeling the existing ones. The course re-opened as an 18-holer in 1964.

Arnld Palmer bought Latrobe CC in 1971, and has owned it ever since. Deacon Palmer became course superintent in 1926, and head professional in 1931. He was a constant presence at the club until his death at age 71 in 1976.

The course stretches about 6,700 yards from the back tees, but meanders up and down the hilly countryside. The club also includes a practice putting green, driving range and golf shop, along with tennis courts, heated swimming pool and bathhouse, fully-staffed locker rooms and dining and entertainment facilities.

True members of Arnie’s Army know to look for the the red covered bridges that cross the creek that comes into play on the back nine, as well as the famous "Pennzoil tractor" that Deacon Palmer taught his sons Arnold and Jerry to drive, and which went on to star in a series of popular TV commercials. The tractor has been on display all across America, but now often is parked near the first tee so everyone can see it.

Golf packages include accommodations at the hotel, a complimentary breakfast at the hotel and one round of golf with cart. For more information, visit or call 724-537-7800.