September Votta has a crazy golf story.

As one-third of the founding trio behind the women’s lifestyle brand, Tuckernuck, Votta knows how to mine culture—and her life—for inspiration. When the brand leapt into the golf market last year, she, along with her co-founders and designers, looked to classic style icons, silhouettes, and color palettes like Princess Diana (in every and any outfit) and Caddyshack (plaid! More plaid! The 80’s!), as well as Arnold Palmer. No clothing piece in their current collection encapsulates this quite like their golf cardigans. And there’s a wild, serendipitous, legendary golf story involving The King himself to prove it.

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Though she never met him, Votta’s grandfather was Palmer’s longtime caddie. She knew he worked with Palmer for 15 years, but that’s about it—aside from seeing her grandpa’s blurry figure on the ESPN Classics.

When Votta first met her now-husband, Michael, they got to talking about golf as he had, coincidentally, grown up playing on Palmer’s course in Florida and, one month prior, wrote him a letter thanking him for the inspiration. Unexpectedly, Palmer wrote back. Signed and everything.

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A year went by. The pair continued dating. One day, her then-boyfriend said, “September, you’re never going to believe this. I followed up with Arnold Palmer and said, ‘I’m currently dating your caddie’s granddaughter, and we would love to meet you sometime.’”

His chief of staff called the duo the next day and invited them to Palmer’s residence in Latrobe, Pa.

“So we drove from D.C. to Latrobe and he was like, ‘I like you two, I want to spend the whole day with you,’” Votta said. “So we spent six-and-a-half hours with him and his wife.”

Palmer showed the pair his office, house, and “shed” his brother built him to house every piece of memorabilia he’s ever won or received. The kicker, however, was one of his closets. This one, a walk-in, devoted to his collection of colorful, vintage cardigans.

“It was the most incredible day of my life, besides my wedding,” Votta said. “Actually, it might top that, for me and my husband.”


Orlando Sentinel

“He drove us around the golf club,” she continued. “I thought I was going to die at one point because he was driving like a maniac.” Then at lunch, her husband playfully ordered an Arnold Palmer. The real Palmer looked to Votta and said, “You’re going to get Chardonnay right.”

“It was just a cool thing. To have such an amazing athlete like that feel such a connection to his fans,” Votta said. “I guess my grandfather had gone on tour for so long and kind of left his family. Arnold said he just felt like he was giving back in a way.”

In addition to the cozy, soft, bright Arnold-inspired retro cardigans, the pair would eventually find another way to keep the Arnold spirit and legacy alive, in the naming of their son: “Palmer.”

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