Toney Penna was born on this day in 1908. He was an Italian-American professional golfer and designer of golf clubs and gear. He won four events on the PGA Tour between 1937 and 1947. He introduced new lines of golf clubs and was the holder of four patents for golf clubs.
Many of these clubs are considered collectors’ items: some are still in production. He also introduced the use of colour to both clubs and to golf accessories, such as carrying bags.
Penna was born in Naples, Italy. Starting out in golf by being a caddy, Penna was known for his personality and individualism as much as for his golfing abilities. He was often a critic of his high-ranking golf contemporaries, and published a table illustrating his thoughts about the strengths and weaknesses of each in his autobiography. With a ready temper but also a sense of humor, Penna’s work as a golf pro brought him into contact with Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, and Bob Hope, among others.
Penna was a longtime employee and representative of the MacGregor Golf Company. After years of working for MacGregor, Penna started his own company and manufactured his own golf clubs. A stretch of road in Jupiter, Florida, where his company was located is named after him. Penna used the spelling of his name as an attention-getter, and was known for having a taste for fine clothing. Penna displayed an ability for concentrated problem-solving in improving golf club performance which led to his success as an equipment representative, a golf pro, and also as the producer of his own line of golf clubs.
Penna died in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida in 1995 at the age of 87.