A Peaceful Round with Arnie


POLK CITY, Iowa (AP) -- If you think going against Duke or Kentucky in basketball is intimidating, try playing golf with Arnold Palmer.
Take it from Drake basketball coach Tom Davis, that is nerve-racking.
'He does everything he can to make you feel relaxed, but playing golf with him is not relaxing,' Davis said with a laugh.
Davis played nine holes with Palmer on Thursday at the recently opened Tournament Club of Iowa, which was designed by Palmer's company. It was Palmer's first look at the course since it was completed this spring and, as usual, he drew a crowd.
Dozens of fans followed the pair around the back nine of the hilly, heavily wooded course in central Iowa. They gave Palmer a standing ovation when he was introduced at a press conference afterward.
'I think this golf course will maybe set a new standard for golf in this area,' Palmer said. 'I'm hopeful people will come out and enjoy it.'
Davis certainly enjoyed it -- and impressed Palmer with his shot-making. On the par-3 16th hole, for example, Davis dropped his tee shot right onto the green. Palmer plunked his into the pond in front of the green.
'He plays very well and I'm pleased to have played with him,' Palmer said. 'I hope he can shoot a basketball that well.'
Davis, who took the Drake job in April, taught himself to play golf. One of the books he read while learning the game was Palmer's 'My Game and Yours.'
'This meant a lot to me because of that,' Davis said.
The course is expected to become the future home of the Allianz Championship, the Des Moines stop on the Champions Tour. That tournament, which will be played next week, is now held at Glen Oaks in West Des Moines.
'I think eventually this course will be a good fit for any tour, any kind of golf,' Palmer said. 'You could play any kind of tournament here you wanted.
'There's a couple of holes where we would have to shuttle players. Other than that, it's ready,' Palmer added. 'And with a year or so grow-in, it'll be very good.'
Palmer said he'd make only a few subtle changes on the course, such as removing a couple of trees that he feels are too close to the fairway on No. 12, and trimming some trees that throw too much shade on some greens.
But overall, 'I think it's even better than I thought it would be,' he said.
Arnie, it seems, was satisfied. And so was his nervous partner.
'I just tried to stay out of his way, tried to enjoy him and watch his interaction with the fans and appreciate what he is all about,' Davis said. 'He is really good with people, as everybody pretty much knows. It was fun to be with him.'
TheGolfChannel.com Bio: Arnold Palmer
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