New Zealand Golf legend Sir Bob Charles was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of good friend and compatriot, the late Arnold The King Palmer earlier this week.

Sir Bob competed against Palmer for years walking many fairways with him and witnessed some of his great victories from his first major championship to his last.

"Sadly, Verity and I have learned of the passing of Arnold Palmer while on a tour of Western Australia. We send our sincere condolences to his extended family," said Sir Bob.

"As a contemporary of Arnold's, he was a friend off the golf course and a foe on it. I was there at Augusta in 1958 to watch him winning his first major and again at Augusta in 1975 when he won his seventh and final major championship.

"Arnold made the game of golf popular with non-golfers through his swash buckling style and a personality which was admired by all. A man of the people from a humble background who became a giant in the world of golf.

"Arnold I salute you, take my hat off to you, thank you for making the game of golf what it is today and giving me the opportunity to be part of your legacy. Rest in Peace."

Palmers first PGA Tour victory came at the Canadian Open in 1955. From here he went on to win another 75 times, 62 of which were on the PGA Tour where he sits fifth of all time in the record books coupled with seven Major Championships.

This week has marred the end of a great era and New Zealand Golf shares in the condolences for the man who changed the game for the good.

Rest in Peace Arnold Palmer.

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Golf NZ