Gus Andreone, the oldest PGA of America Member, celebrated his 107th birthday Sunday in Sarasota, Florida, and wanted to share his two most significant moments – one in the heat of competition and one off the course.
“My greatest memory playing golf was sharing the lead after the opening round of the Pennsylvania State Open,” said Andreone. “It was in the 1950s, at Longue Vue Club in Pittsburgh and it was raining. It rained 36 holes on Monday and they had to change the cups in the afternoon.
“I was up against some of the best pros and amateurs around. I shot a 69, sharing the low round of the day on a soaked course. Considering the conditions, it was the greatest round I’ve had. And, I’ve had shot 66s before. But, that was a day on a course I never forgot.”
Andreone, who was elected to PGA Membership in 1939, served in the U.S. Army’s 10th Armored Division, and attached to Gen. George Patton’s Third Army. Andreone survived the Battle of the Bulge and three near-death experiences while in France. He was the recipient of three Bronze Stars and in October 2017, was awarded the French Legion of Honor medal in a ceremony in Tampa, Florida.
“The other memory I carry with me was off the course,” said Andreone, a long pause and his eyes beginning to water. “I was on a troop ship coming into New York harbor. Then I saw her (the Statue of Liberty). . .I thought that I would never see her again.”
A year has passed since Andreone received the medal and heard the “Marseillaise” sung in his honor. He had a pacemaker installed and passed the ensuing months of medical tests of endurance with flying colors.
He spent the weekend watching the Ryder Cup from the comfort of his living room with his wife, Betty, 101.
Andreone shared a few tips for aspiring PGA Professionals.
“The job you have in golf is working with people. You treat them all the same if you intend to be a professional,” said Andreone. “Personality is very important. Treat them alike and learn all you can about your business. Remember that the juniors are the members of tomorrow. You treat your members with fairness and respect and it will come back to you tenfold.”
|PGA Professional||Section||Birth Date||Age||Date Membership Started||Years of Membership||Status||Date of Death|
|Errie Ball||Illinois Section||11/14/10||103||6/20/31||83||Inactive||7/2/14|
|Bud Lewis||Philadelphia Section||8/30/08||103||5/13/31||81||Inactive||11/22/11|
|Gus Andreone, PGA||North Florida Section||9/30/11||107||5/29/39||79||Active|
|Stanley Staszowski, PGA||Connecticut Section||12/12/17||100||7/22/39||79||Active|
|Gene Sarazen||South Florida Section||2/27/02||97||3/15/21||78||Inactive||5/13/99|