It is of heavy heart to say that the world of clubmaking has lost one of its founding fathers, but more importantly a truly compassionate human being. Joseph Anthony Altomonte, 83, of Naples , FL passed away on January 12, 2008 surrounded by his family.
The first time I met Joe Sr., as he was affectionately known, was the first day working for Dynacraft / Pal Joey in the summer of 1984. The factory workers at Pal Joey told me the Joe Sr. wanted to see me. So I went up those rickety stairs of the old firehouse toward his office. Each individual step would squeak and alert him of your presence. I popped my head into his office and said “You wanted to see me?” Sitting at his desk he rose his head enough to peer over his glasses and give me that look like what do you want. I realized I had been had by my new fellow co-workers. While I did not get off to the best start, Joe Sr. from then on treated me like family along all the other fellow employees.
While business was good, that was secondary to the things I remember most about him. No better examples were when Joe Sr. would celebrate Christmas with all the employees and their families. No kid would go without a present if he had anything to do with it. At the peak of business, there were a lot of kids – a lot! He touched so many lives over the years. I am sure many others in his position with business doing as well it was could have accumulated a large net worth and been rich. But instead he was truly a benevolent man and gave a lot back to those who worked for him and to the community.
As a boy he worked as a caddy and developed a love for golf that shaped the rest of his life. He was an outstanding High School athlete, and his basketball talents resulted in several college scholarship offers. Then, as with so many men of this era, WWII changed the course of his life.
He proudly served his country by enlisting in the US Army and fought honorably in four major battles in the Pacific. During the invasion of Leyte in the Philippines , Joe served as bodyguard for General Douglas MacArthur and during that period he was also assigned to bodyguard Brigadier General Carlos Romulo and Philippine President Sergio Osmena.
He started his professional career working in sales for the Faultless Rubber Company in Ashland , Ohio . Joe convinced Faultless management to diversify into the golf ball business, and he played a key role setting up this new business unit, Faultless Golf. He took over responsibility for promoting and selling Faultless golf balls, and he proved to be a true marketing pioneer. Other golf equipment manufacturers typically ran TV commercials during PGA tournaments. Joe came up with the idea of advertising on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Ed McMahon placed Faultless Golf balls into a guillotine and on live television the blade came hammering down on the golf ball, but the golf ball did not break.
During his tenure at Faultless, Joe took his company to the forefront of the golf world, and to an international audience. He signed a virtual unknown hustler from Texas named Lee Trevino as well as Lee Elder, who would go on to become the first Afro-American man to play in the Masters to endorse their golf balls.
As former sales manager for Faultless, Joseph served as a foundry sales rep for a few years after his departure. With investment casting metal woods and irons in its infancy, Joe would travel the country setting up clubhead orders for nearly all the game’s major manufacturers. Lee Trevino encouraged Joe to get into the golf club market, and in 1979, set up his own company to sell golf club components to club makers. He took a delivery of a semi-trailer full of clubheads on his own, and Dynacraft Golf was born. By the mid-1990s Dynacraft based in Newark , Ohio had grown to 150 people. Long after his retirement and eventually death, the Dynacraft name and vision of being able to offer affordable clubs to those who loved the game as much as he did lives on.
Joe is survived by his wife and loving partner of 60 years, Betty as well as daughter, Beth; Sons Joe and Rob (marketing manager for Hireko Golf) and the grandfather of 7. A Memorial Service will be held at North Naples United Methodist Church , 6000 Goodlette Road , N. Naples , Florida , on Friday January 18th at 1:00PM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations can be kindly sent to AVOW Hospice, 1095 Whippoorwill Lane , Naples FL , 34105.