Claim: A legendary golfer is rewarded by a sultan with the gift of a golf club.
Years ago, a famous golfer was invited by the king of Saudi Arabia to play in a golf tournament. He accepted the invitation, and the king flew his private jet over to the United States to pick up the pro. They played golf for several days, and enjoyed a good time. As the golfer was getting on the plane to return to the United States, the king stopped him and said, "I want to give you a gift for coming all this way and making this time so special. Anything you want. What could I get you?"
Ever the gentleman, the golfer replied, "Oh, please; don't get me anything. You've been a gracious host. I've had a wonderful time. I couldn't ask for anything more."
The king was adamant. He said, "No, I insist on giving you something so you will always remember your journey to our country."
When the golfer realized that the king was resolute, he said, "Okay, fine. I collect golf clubs. Why don't you give me a golf club?"
He boarded the plane, and on his flight back home, he couldn't help wondering what kind of golf club the king might give him. He imagined that it might be a solid gold putter with his name engraved on it. Or maybe it would be a sand wedge studded with diamonds and jewels. After all, this would be a gift from the oil-rich king of Saudi Arabia.
When the golfer got home, he watched the mail and the delivery services every day, to see if his golf club had come yet. Finally, several weeks later, he received a certified letter from the king of Saudi Arabia. The U.S. professional thought that rather strange. Where's my golf club? he wondered. He opened the envelope, and to his surprise, inside he discovered a deed to a five-hundred-acre golf course in America.
[Collected via e-mail, July 2006]
I heard a rumor that Arnold Palmer was once asked by a Saudi king to come and play golf with him. Palmer wasn't sure if he should go, but his friends convinced him. As he was playing the king told him he wanted to give him a gift for coming to play with him. Palmer declined, but the king was persistent. Palmer said he could give him a golf club. The king said he would send it to him. After returning home Palmer got to wondering what the club would look like. Solid gold? Diamond studded? The package arrived, but it was not the size of a golf club. Palmer opened it and found the keys and a deed to a golf club (resort).
Origins: How old is old? This story about a wealthy patron and his gift of a golf club has been kicking around at least since 1949, when it appeared in Reader's Digest:
Later the maharajah reported: "I've bought two golf clubs for you. Both have
The "gift of a golf club" story is another tale of this ilk, in which once again a beneficent wealthy person over-rewards for a service received, this time with a multi-million dollar piece of real estate rather than the far more mundane and less expensive item requested. Also worked into this yarn is a common belief about the mega-rich, that they live and spend on so different a plane from the rest of us that the term "golf club" would naturally prompt them to think in terms of clubhouses and greens, while their less financially fortunate counterparts would be mentally conjuring up putters and drivers.
(Of course, since golf is played with a set of clubs, it would be rather unusual for a golfer to state that he'd like a club without specifying which one [e.g., a
The "golf club" story is similar to a joke presented as a diary entry made by Bill Gates, a man often used in illustrative stories as verbal shortform for "very wealthy person" (in the same way Albert Einstein is used for "very smart person"). Says that bogus diary entry: "Memo to self
Barbara "peking into the lives of the rich and famous" Mikkelson
Last updated: 9 October 2013
Osteen, Joel. Your Best Life Now. New York: Warner Faith, 2004 (pp. 11-12). Fun Fare: A Treasury of Reader's Digest Wit and Humor. Pleasantville, N.Y.: Reader's Digest Association Inc., 1949 (p. 230).