Winged Foot Golf Club
Joe DioGuardi first set foot on Winged Foot at the 1959 U.S. Open as a guest of Mike Turnesa and his family. Mike was the longtime resident golf pro at Knollwood Country Club, and one of his six golfing brothers was playing in the Open. DioGuardi was only nineteen years old then, a student at Fordham University, a summertime waiter at Elmwood Country Club (where Mike’s oldest brothers, Phil and Joe, were the golf pros), and Joe was dating Mike’s daughter, Jean, at the time.
Joe learned to play golf at the range opposite Elmwood Country Club on Dobbs Ferry Road in the late 1950s, and was allowed to play on Mondays with Elmwood’s caddies. Joe began thinking about the day when he could become a member of a golf club like Winged Foot. That day came in 1971 (a few months before Joe became a partner at Arthur Andersen), with personal support from Jack Mulcahy ( a close friend of Mike Turnesa and a member of both Winged Foot and Knollwood) and also from Winged Foot board members Felix Larkin and Wellington Mara, whom Joe had met in his development work at Fordham University, where they were actively involved at the time.
Joe was admitted as a “Junior D” member of Winged Foot in September 1971, when preparations for Winged Foot’s third U.S. Open were already underway. He volunteered to help in the spring of 1972, and began working with two very active senior members, Tom Towel and Charlie Evans. Using his professional background as a CPA, Joe initiated a comprehensive manual for the day-to-day financial operations of the Open. (In those days, the Club, not the USGA, was responsible for the running of the Open.) Joe enlisted the help of several partners at Arthur Andersen who were golf enthusiasts, two of them later became members of our Club under his sponsorship. By the time the Open took place in 1974, the manual was completed and many volunteers from Arthur Andersen were trained to help the Club with the collection, deposit, accounting, and reporting of all funds collected for tickets, advertising, and sales of food, etc. Volunteers used the same approach for the 1980 Senior Open and the 1984 U.S. Open, for which Joe served as chairman of a relevant committee. Later, in 1984, Joe ran for Congress and began serving two-thirds of the people of Westchester County, including Mamaroneck, as their representative in the House.
Jumping ahead twenty years to 2006 and Winged Foot’s fifth U.S. Open, Joe thought about the immense history of the Club for hosting exciting tournaments with memorable moments—especially on the 18th hole, from the curling putt by Bob Jones in 1929 to the meltdown by Phil Mickelson in 2006. Joe decided to have some fun by collecting the many articles (he chose about 75 out of 300) in the New York Metropolitan print media and putting together a “scrapbook” on the 2006 Open. The project evolved over three years into a journal of not only the 2006 Open, but a short history of the U.S. Open at Winged Foot and the West Course, where so many of golf’s greatest moments have occurred. Joe presented copies of this journal to Winged Foot Golf Pros, Tom Nieporte and John Buzcek, who encouraged him to complete the project when they first saw a draft copy