(From left) Doug, Phil, James, Frank, Joe and Mike Turnesa Courtesy USGA Museum
This piece is excerpted from the book "Doctors of the Game."
The Turnesa story began in 1875 when Vitale Turnesa was born in Potenza, a small village 65 miles east of Salerno, Italy. Orphaned as a youngster, he sought a living as a shepherd in the Italian countryside. Hearing stories of a better life in America, he saved enough money by age 14 to make the voyage from Naples to New York. Just a year earlier, in 1888, businessman John Reid and a few friends had quietly established the first golf club in America. Located in the suburban town of Yonkers, New York, it was called the St. Andrews Golf Club.
Shortly after arriving, Turnesa took up residence on the Lower East Side in the Little Italy section of Manhattan, which was recognized as the city’s poorest neighborhood. In a common practice of that era, an Italian family took him in. He quickly found a job as a shoeshine boy and soon worked his way up to a steward position on a fleet of ferry boat...
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