We're excited to bring you another installment of our Team Titleist Member Spotlight, where we get the chance to learn even more about our Team Titleist members and their unique connections to the game.
We consider ourselves very fortunate to have so many passionate and knowledgeable golfers on Team Titleist sharing their stories, tips and experiences with each other on a daily basis – and we look forward to checking in with more of you soon!
In this month's spotlight, Team Titleist member Dennis "Deno" Oricchio lets us in on his fascinating history with the game, including his chance encounter (and golf lessons) with Titleist Advisory Staff member Butch Harmon more than 40 years ago.
It's a great read, and just another great story from Team Titleist...
TEAM TITLEIST: How did you get started in golf? Who introduced you to the game?
DENNIS ORICCHIO: My dad introduced me to the game. I would help him clean his clubs and golf balls as a kid when he came home. … My first set was cut-down ladies clubs. As I eventually grew, I had a set of Sam Snead maroon-shafted clubs. Still have 'em.
As my Dad always used Acushnet Titleist balls, I had a shag bag full. I would chip balls onto my neighbor's grapevine two doors down in a small Italian neighborhood. Not an easy shot. Sometimes I didn't make it over the clothesline next door. It was the only green thing I could see. Every fall, the old man would return the balls in an old pot when the vine would die and the golf balls fell through.
TT: What's your best score and where did you shoot it?
DO: I shot a 66 in 1967 on a public course. After returning from Vietnam, my relaxation was hitting 200-plus balls every morning and after work – it's amazing how that much practice dials in the irons.
I always drove the ball 300 yards with persimmons but the irons were in need of tuning. I had a sponsor and as per the old Tournament Players Division requirements, I needed a check made out for $10,000 a year for three years. Before they signed the check, I spent a month in Florida at their expense playing tournaments – but changed my mind. I worried about owing back the money.
My Army mate in Alaska got me to hitting crisp irons on the post driving
range. He was none other than Butch Harmon. Who knew at the time? I
saw his name tag when I met him and mentioned Claude Sr. (Butch's father
and 1948 Masters Champion.) Small world. We went to Hawaii and Vietnam
together. Never talked to him since.
TT: What's the best piece of golf advice you have ever received?
DO: "Don't quit your day job" – To myself in the '60s.
TT: Can you recall the best golf shot you've ever hit?
DO: Well there are a few, but I would have to say a second shot close to 250 yards with a Toney Penna persimmon 3-wood, to a par 5 at Loxahatchee Golf Club in Florida. ... The road outside the club is Toney Penna Drive.
TT: How do you mark your Titleist golf ball? Does it have any special significance?
DO: I fill in the loops in Titleist with red and green. Touch of Italy.
TT: What's your favorite Titleist club in the bag? Why?
DO: The 4-iron (695 MB with Sensicore S400 shaft) for sure. Gets me around or under any tree on the course.
TT: What's the most special moment you've ever had on the golf course?
DO: Every round with my Dad was special. Now the older grandsons are playing. Priceless.
TT: Have any on-course superstitions?
DO: Always have a 1969 quarter as a marker and tie my left shoe first.
TT: If you had to play one golf course every day for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
DO: There are a few. If I could only pick one, I'd say Ridgewood Country Club in N.J.
TT: How did you hear about Team Titleist? What are some of your favorite features of the community and what kind of things would you like to see in the future?
DO: I fortunately found Team Titleist from the Titleist site. Great place to pull up a chair, meet new friends, and learn all about new technology.
TT: Favorite golf movie?
DO: To laugh, "The Caddy" with Dean (Martin) and Jerry (Lewis).
TT: Favorite golf book?
DO: Too many. Mostly biographies of the great players. Butch Harmon's "The Pro" is one of my favorites because he joined the Army to get away from it all in the '60s.
TT: Favorite golf destination?
DO: Florida has been No.
1 for many years. Started school there in the '60s (University of South
Florida), have a place in Orlando and plenty of friends. Oh, Maui would
be great – but no chance.
TT: Favorite 19th hole meal?
DO: Grilled chicken sandwich – and a cold beer.