Have golf bag will travel!
This article is about Paul Dellanzo who joined the Bermuda Police back in February 1975 as one of the group of 15 young men with previous police experience. Paul worked here for three years before leaving here for greener pastures, or should I say greener fairways!
Our old friend and colleague Bob Kinnon got the surprise of his life when a man walked up to him at his local golf club in Yorkshire just a few weeks ago and says "Do you remember me?" It was Paul Dellanzo and the two had not seen each other for 41 years at which time they were both young police officers here in Bermuda.. They caught up on what they had been doing in the intervening years, and it turns out that both of them have a great love for the game of golf as you will read in the article below. Bob sent us a photo of himself and Paul at Woodsome Hill Golf Club in Huddersfield which we published in our "Keeping in Touch" column on 15th November 2018. See http://expobermuda.com/index.php/keep-in-touch/632-keeping-in-touch-home-and-abroad-2018
During their conversation Bob told Paul about our website which he had never heard of. We made contact and at which time Paul told me a little about his life after leaving Bermuda and promised to write an article for our Then and Now column. And what a story it is. Paul has rubbed shoulders with the world's greatest golfers has travelled all over the globe working in golf club management and so much more.
I was born in Greater Manchester in June 1963, but grew up in Southport and Liverpool.
I joined the police as a cadet at 16 years of age in Liverpool somewhat under duress. I had been offered a job to be an assistant pro at a golf club but my father who was Italian slapped me round the head and said " oh playing golf is not a real job"!
Anyway, I saw the police as an opportunity to help people and do lots of sport and maybe travel. Most kids in my school were leaving at 16 and did apprenticeships, joined the army or in some cases ready for a life of mostly petty crime. They were rolling drunks on a Friday night for their pay packets and generally getting into trouble. It was a rough environment in those days and not many jobs.
At 19 years I joined the regular force as a Police Constable in Liverpool City centre. The city was run down in those days and on nights it was a bit like a war zone although much improved now, and after two and a half years I was lucky to be accepted into the Bermuda Police.
I remember arriving with my intake in February, 1975 and being taken to barracks at Prospect late at night. In the morning I took a walk with Angus MacDonald from Glasgow and remember we were both astonished to find ourselves in a comparative paradise. Angus and I have still kept in touch and he is happily married in Glasgow and has four children.
Rear row (l-r) - Alan Smith (deceased) Steve Smedley, Paul Cranage, Dave Cart. Pete Giles.
Middle row - Mike Ross, Dave Adams, Peter Gimson, Angus MacDonald, Gerry Bensen
Front row - Ian Kittle, Graham Alderson, Sgt Barrie Mead, C/Insp Dave Parsons,Sgt Ian Scotland,
Alistair (Paul) Dellanzo, John Wright. Missing is Alan Cleave who was in hospital after being
I was attached to Central Division and then St Georges later on. I was never really good at taking instruction and I think Sergeant Orson Daisley soon worked out that golf was my priority not police work.
Anyway, I immediately researched the local golf clubs and played at Ocean View and joined Castle Harbour where I got to play golf with Butch Lindo, a great local player and most of the other good Bermudian players as well as Sergeant Ron Wallace. I played off eight but soon worked it down to two but could never beat Ron.
Anyway, got the travel bug again. There was no way I wanted to go back and find myself battling drunks on a Friday night in Liverpool so I eventually joined the Toronto Police in November 1977. It was actually a good job and good city but I had always wanted to play golf so looked into the golf industry there, a seasonal business because of the weather.
I began a five year apprenticeship to become a Class A Member of the Canadian PGA. I figured if it didn't work out I was young enough to re-join a police force but I never did. Instead I gained experience at private clubs and resorts in Toronto, Montreal, Miami and Vancouver and won five professional championships. Or in truth I should say I got lucky five times as I was never that good a player.
It was a seasonal job so I also trained in hotel management with Delta Hotels and did some food and beverage management. In 1983 I was appointed Head Professional and Director of Golf at Whistler Resort Course designed by Arnold Palmer and had the pleasure of hosting him and organising a televised event around it, My role was the pre and post opening management and I seemed to develop a skill set for that.
I got married to Susan from Yorkshire in 1986. We have two kids, Francesca and Emilio. She has managed to put up with me all these 32 years . After six happy years in Whistler we headed back to the UK for a new adventure and in the same role at East Sussex National in England.
Whilst there I was invited to be an instruction contributor to Golf Monthly Magazine and then Guest Instruction commentator at the Open Championship and other European Tour events. Jim Flick, coach to Jack Nicklaus was a massive influence on me and I worked with him in the USA and Canada, and also Paul Runyan a wonderful old player who had won the PGA Championship beating Sam Snead in match play in the 1938 PGA Championship. I was briefly ranked in the top 100 coaches in the world in the late eighties but am sure it was Jim Flick's influence that helped me more than my ability.
Next stop was as the Operations Consultant for two years to establish Dubai Creek Golf Club in the UAE, a fascinating introduction to the middle east region. This also entailed recruiting staff in Manila, Phillipines and Mumbai, India. We built a village for the staff in Dubai that housed 250 staff. Met some wonderful people there and keep in touch with many.
From there I was appointed Chief Operating Officer for the pre and post opening of Loch Lomond Golf Club, a new course by Tom Weiskopf.(an ex-Open Champion). It was ranked best new course in the world and hosted the World Invitational Championship and I have since worked with Tom on another course in St Andrews and one in Tuscany which was voted best club in the world. It produces Brunello wine and think I drank more wine than I ever played golf there. After Loch Lomond I did the pre and post opening as GM at Doha Golf Club in Qatar and consulting on the opening of Durat al Arus in Saudi Arabia.
I was head hunted by Starwood Hotels to be the GM at Pevero in Costa Smeralda, Italy and Amministratore Delegato (MD) of the company there. My kids Francesca and Emilio grew up there and we lived there for seven wonderful years.
In 2002 I was head hunted by Troon Golf the world's largest golf management company to open their European office in Milan as their Vice President European Operations. In 2004 they transferred me to Switzerland. My role was to establish new facility management contracts throughout Europe and drive revenues for the ownerships. It was a fascinating and great learning experience. With the help of a great team I started with one resort, Turnberry and established 43 new facility agreements throughout Europe and the middle east and was responsible also for the multi-site management of over 40 food and beverage facilities and build of 20 new golf courses, establishing successful business plans and models for each facility.
In 2007 my peers elected me as the PGAs of Europe Five Star Professional of the Year. that was quite humbling and resulted in quite a party with my colleagues. Eventually my role included the Middle East, Russia and Kazahkstan, and I was travelling over 160 days a year and I remember well the stress of flying from Milan to Madrid early in the early morning almost weekly to attend owner Board meetings, meet in Lisbon in the evening and then fly to the Azores in the morning, returning in the evening and driving directly to the Algarve for more meetings.
It was a case of home for a night or two and then off being a road warrior again! An exciting job if one is 20 years younger but too stressful at a certain point in one’s life. I established my own company in Switzerland in 2009 and took a contract with a Norwegion developer building a golf and real estate complex in Tuscany. Within the company we also concentrated on some complex hospitality management consultancies, agronomy, course design, project management, marketing and membership plans and we have consulted on most of the leading clubs in the UK and Europe.
Golf has been everything to my life, I have played golf with so many people, celebrities, winners of major golf championships and numerous sporting figures, a US President, Clint Eastwood, met Sylvester Stallone and was very surprised and happy to find he was much shorter than me. I think Gerry Benson could have taken Rocky Balboa out easily! Played golf with a great Italian world cup goalkeeper and the mayor of Rome
and became a friend of a President of Italy, Cossiga, who was a fascinating personality and used to visit me in Sardinia with his security detail.
I played with Archbishop Marcinkus years earlier who was head of Finance for the Vatican and a 2 handicap player who turned up in his Porsche! Some may remember the book God's Banker which was based on his life and where the head of the Banco Ambrosiano ended up murdered and was found face down off Blackfriars Bridge in the Thames. He had drowned in the Thames tied to quite a few heavy bricks.
Managed to get my kids through school and universities before returning to the UK in 2013 as Susan and I both had elderly parents who needed help and have since passed on. In 2016 the stress of 70/80 hour weeks and no holidays for years eventually took its toll in the form of some serious health issues which I am still trying to recover from with a positive outlook, and am grateful I am still here as many people have problems much worse than mine so I am eternally grateful for the life I have had and so try not to dwell on health issues too much.
I am now 65 and trying to wind down my companies and retire although we have recently finished a very successful design project in Muscat , Oman with my lead designer Dr Beatrice Franceschi with me in the photo attached. I am now working on projects in London and Scotland.
Unfortunately I am always thinking of business and new business so hope I get chance to enjoy a little before I drop on the back nine of life!! But in golfing terms we say "its been a slice and hopefully will go with a smile on my face. It’s not when you were born and when you die, it’s what you do in between and I have been very lucky and am eternally grateful for my experiences and the wife and family I have. Yorkshire has turned out to be a great place with very friendly people and we visit Leeds and York quite a lot as well as the coast around Filey and Whitby.
I have always missed Bermuda; there are some very fine people who have been in the Bermuda police. I have only ever had the chance to visit once for week on a short consulting job many years ago and ran into Stuart Kirkpatrick and David Smith walking his dog. I am writing a book of recipes for Italian food and miss Italy very much. Planning a foodie weekend with my daughter to Bologna to taste the vast variety of food in the market there. I think if I were younger I would consider a new career in food, wine, design and fashion. I like to keep looking forward rather than backwards.
Congrats again Roger on the great website and hope to meet you in 2019 when Susan and I are hoping to finally visit there together.