In 1961 Mark H. McCormack helped Arnold Palmer create Arnold Palmer Enterprises. Although this business strategy now had its name, it needed a corporate logo. Palmer, McCormack, and other business associates gathered around brainstorming logo ideas for merchandise such as golf clubs, clothing, and stationary. Eventually, after a time of unproductive brainstorming, Palmer proposed the idea of a multi-covered umbrella. Palmer’s proposition initially seemed far-fetched, given everyone’s assumption that such a simple sounding logo would have already been trademarked.
After investigation by Palmer’s lawyers, they discovered that the symbol of an open golf umbrella had not yet been trademarked anywhere worldwide. The proposed umbrella logo was created in four colors – red, white, green, and yellow. From an idea that initially seemed to hold little promise came one of the most recognized and well-known icons in the world.
Almost 60 years later every retired iconic athlete seemingly wants to copy the Arnold Palmer model whereby they license their name and the royalty checks roll in, but few can match the original. Palmer was one of a kind. Before his passing in late 2016, it was estimated that Arnold Palmer Enterprises, through the licensing of its unique umbrella logo, had earned close to $1.3 billion dollars on an inflation-adjusted basis since 1961.
From the Archives we share here several documents pertaining to the trademarking of the umbrella, as well as the original clothes catalog for the Arnold Palmer line and the marketing plan for the line’s launch.