DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH
By Bob Weiner
Golf gave Tony Curro a new lease on life – literally.
The longtime physical education teacher and coach at Watervliet High School is more known for his exploits on the baseball diamond than around the fairways and greens, but he’s turned his newest venture into a customized career.
“I am re-inventing myself for the third time,” said Curro, who retired two years ago after 35 years with the Watervliet City School District. Curro was the head baseball coach for the Cannoneers for 15 years and then was Tony Rossi’s assistant baseball coach at Siena College for nine more years. He tried changing careers after studying Educational Supervision & Administration at The College of Saint Rose, but it didn’t work out.
“It was a disaster, and I hated it,” he said. “I’m much more of a hands-on kind of guy, and being a school administrator wasn’t for me.”
That’s when Curro, 59, began toying with the idea of making a career out of his toys.
“I picked up the game of golf later in life,” Curro said. “I played baseball until I was 26-years old, and I didn’t have time for golf. Then I was a coach for all of those years. When I was an assistant coach at Siena, I began getting into golf with my friend Art Cotugno. I found the Dynacraft website about golf clubs, and I began tinkering with making clubs. I found I could make clubs on the side, and on my own time.”
Curro desperately wanted a career where he could spend more time at home.
“My wife is a lawyer, and I have an autistic son,” he explained. “I decided that I needed to be home more.”
Curro decided to focus on the golf business the same way he devoted so much time to baseball. “I talked to as many people as I could who knew about the game. I took courses, and I went to seminars,” he said. “Bill Brady, one of the area’s top clubmakers, let me mirror him at his job for six months. I eventually bought a tour bus from Bill, and I started selling clubs out of the bus.”
Curro eventually became certified in clubfitting and began the long road of obtaining enough products to sell to his customers.
“It took a while, but now I’ve got equipment parts from Adams, Callaway, TaylorMade, PXG and Misuno,” he said. “I’ve turned a hobby into a career.”
Curro no longer sells his custom-made equipment from a bus. A couple of years ago, he opened his Tru-Fit Custom Clubs business on 961 Troy-Schenectady Road in Latham. His store is loaded with all types of equipment, especially shafts, which are the motor for every club.
“I’ve got more than 250 types of shafts on my wall from 12 different companies,” Curro said. “I’ve got tour-level stuff, and plenty of it.”
Last month, Curro was chosen the 2018 North American Clubmaker of the Year by the International Clubmakers Guild. He had to pass a stringent certification test that included a practical component of building a club and providing the committee a 45-minutes video on how to do it. Curro will accept his award at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando Jan. 24: “It’s a fantastic honor for me, and I’m thrilled.”
Curro won two state baseball titles with Watervliet as head coach in 1985 and 1991. This recent honor is equally appreciated.
“I don’t get to play much golf myself until later in June,” he said. “I probably play the most from September to November, but I love making clubs and helping people improve their games.”
One of Curro’s best customers is longtime Major League pitcher Jim Kaat, who played for the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals. He later had a long announcing career, including a stint with the Yankees.
Curro fits clubs by appointment and is usually at his Tru-Fit Custom Clubs store weekdays from 9:30AM-2PM.