#20: Joins U.S. Coast Guard
While Arnold Palmer was in his final year of college at Wake Forest University, his close friend and golf teammate Bud Worsham was killed in a car accident. Distraught and shaken, Palmer left school and joined The United States Coast Guard.
He reported for duty to Cape May in January of 1951, in what he described as the coldest, bleakest part of winter. After basic training he was kept on at the base, where he helped to train recruits and, eventually, where he built a 9-hole golf course with his hands—his first design project, of a sort. Beyond golf, though, Palmer credits the Coast Guard with helping him to develop as a man. “The knowledge that I gained, the maturity that I gained in the Coast Guard was unbelievable. It matured me,” Palmer told the Coast Guard’s Compass publication in 2012. “It made me a better person for the world.”