Gus Andreone, the oldest-living PGA of America member, passed away at the age of 107 on Saturday in Sarasota, Florida after suffering a stroke. Andreone, who referred to golf as “the greatest game ever invented,” was a PGA of America member for nearly 80 years.
Andreone’s love for golf began when he was a caddie at St. Clair Country Club as a teenager growing up in Pittsburgh. Soon enough, he began working in the golf shop at the course and gave his first golf lesson in 1934 at the age of 23. He then became a PGA member in 1939 and decided to pursue a teaching career in the PGA education world.
However, Andreone’s golf career was put on hold by World War II as he was drafted into the U.S. Army at age 31. Andreone’s military career was highlighted by fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and earning three Bronze Stars.
It was his love of golf that kept him going and his spirits up during the war, according to Andreone. “The thought of golf kept me going,” Andreone said. “I have great memories of playing the game and the people I’ve met.”
After being discharged from the military after the war in 1945, Andreone returned home to the Steel City and restarted his golf career. Two years later, he became the PGA Head Professional at Edgewood Country Club in Pittsburgh. He remained in that position for 34 years.
Along with giving golf lessons and running the pro shop, Andreone wasn’t too shabby of a golfer either. Andreone, who was named the Tri-State PGA Golf Professional of the Year in 1971, once held the course record with a pair of 66’s at both Edgewood CC and St. Clair CC.
Andreone made eight holes-in-one over the course of his career, spanning a total of 75 years. While his first hole-in-one came in 1939, his last came at the age of 104 in 2014. Andreone is the oldest in history to record an ace on a regulation golf course, according to Golf Digest.
“The job you have in golf is working with people,” Andreone said on the role of a PGA member. “You treat them all the same if you intend to be a professional. 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.”