HLC China is a Staple at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge

Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Fla., is one of the most famous golf courses in the world. As host to the Arnold Palmer Invitational (formerly known as the Bay Hill Invitational) since 1979, the greats of the game have graced this natural stage. No name looms larger than the man himself, Arnold Palmer. He bought the course in 1975, after falling in love with it during a victory there ten years prior.

He personally choose Homer Laughlin china for use in the clubhouse dining room. His wife, Winnie, assisted with dinnerware design and Palmer himself signed off on it.

“Mr. Palmer was a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy,” said Bay Hill’s executive chef Robert Lee, who was hired by Palmer and has been with the club for more than 25 years. “So our dinnerware has a traditional-looking design, very much indicative of the atmosphere at Bay Hill.”

Because the course values tradition, it has been using the same dinnerware design for a quarter-century. Chef Lee appreciates how Homer Laughlin craftsmen and women can consistently produce replacement stock that has fidelity to the original. “The fact that we’re able to reorder the same pieces and have them reproduced to exact specifications has been an asset to our establishment.”

Palmer enjoyed a close relationship with The Homer Laughlin China Company, also engaging them to make custom dinnerware for his own home as well as special holiday-themed plates he sent out one year to everyone on his Christmas card list. Company leadership came to know Palmer so well, they even made a novelty set of salt and pepper shakers for him, poking fun at his love for pepper—the pepper holes were extra large. 

“We want our presentations using HLC china to be perceived as elegant, but not over the top,” said Lee. “That was Mr. Palmer’s style, and we carry it forward.”

July 2018


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