Doc Reno and Jacarandas Andrew Michael-fist-bump-the-upcoming-tournament Bill Van Smith
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What’s Up, Doc? The South Florida Broadcasters Celebrity Tournament, set for Feb. 5 at Jacaranda, benefits the My Family Matters Foundation and Joe DiMaggio’s Children’s Hospital.

A quick and much-needed explanation:

This story is about someone who has never in his life played a full, 18-hole round of golf, which might seem a bit strange since it is appearing in a magazine completely devoted to golf and golf courses.

Even so, this is a story about golf. It is also the story of the curiously named Doc Reno.

Reno, age 60, is a legendary South Florida radio talk show host of much renown by profession. However, his golf skills, to put it politely, definitely fall into the not-so-legendary category. That said, golf is involved in Reno’s life in many different ways – just not in playing an actual round.

Reno confides that he “isn’t even curious” about what he would shoot for 18 holes, if he were to actually play a round.

Asked what the best part of his golf game is, Reno offered a quick, laughing answer: “I’m the best darn golf cart driver in the history of mankind.”

There is no doubt Reno has a strong affinity for the game.

“I love golf courses,” he said. “They are beautiful. I love watching golf on TV. I love watching the majors. I enjoy the players. I understand the game. I love going to tournaments – I’ve attended the Doral Championship [now defunct] and The Honda Classic over the years many, many times.”

However, there is one tournament in the future – one you probably have never heard of – that will definitely, positively and certainly become Reno’s all-time favorite. One that he cares about more than any of those majors he so enjoys.

“I never came off the air. That was part of my fight against the cancer. It was a way of not giving in.”

DOC RENO

Reno has become a major figure in founding “The South Florida Broadcasters Celebrity Golf Tournament benefitting the My Family Matters Foundation and the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation. The event will be held on Saturday, Feb. 5 at Jacaranda Golf Club in Plantation. Reno is a driving force behind the tournament that will raise money for kids who are suffering from cancer.

Although most of the time Reno is glib, upbeat, smiling and laughing, as radio personalities are supposed to be, there is without doubt a serious and caring side to him.

Cancer on a personal level had a say in creating that more serious side.

Reno was diagnosed with Stage 4 head and neck cancer in March 2018.

Almost immediately he began radiation and chemotherapy treatment.

“I handled the chemo pretty well,” he said, “but the radiation was more difficult for me. I still have scar tissue on my neck but that is slowly going away.”

Remarkably and miraculously, in March of 2019 – eight months after learning he had cancer – doctors could find no remaining sign of Reno’s disease.

During his treatment, he remembers, “I never came off the air. That was part of my fight against the cancer. It was a way of not giving in.

“And going through those treatments, I met all sorts of people – all walks of life. They were different ages, different religions, different nationalities. They were wonderful.”

When he received the good news that he was cancer free, Reno felt compelled to do something to show his thanks and gratitude. So, on Nov. 1, 2019, his birthday, he went to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and presented them with a check for $3,500. With his February tournament, he hopes to give them a bigger check in the near future.

Does Reno still think and worry about his cancer coming back?

“Yes,” he frankly admitted, although saying it is not an obsessive worry.

“Cancer never leaves your thoughts,” he said. “And the anxiety goes up through the roof every six months when you take a blood test and you wait for the result.” All his tests have come back clean so far.

Reno grew up in Cleveland and, as you might guess because of his radio profession, he was loquacious from the start. Not to mention a bit rambunctious.

“Yeah, I did a lot of talking in school,” he confessed. “It figures I would end up in the radio profession.” Then, laughing, he added that in the senior awards for his high school, “I was voted the best talker and most devilish. Heck, guess what, I made a radio career out of those two things.”

Reno’s introduction to golf, or a form of golf, came during his Cleveland days, and it was a unique introduction.
Working at a store that sold, among other things, golf balls, Reno and his buddies were able to “find” some golf balls. We are uncertain whether he and his friends actually paid for the balls or that the golf balls might have unknowingly jumped into their pockets.

The group would then proceed to a nearby football field and dig a hole in the turf, and that would serve as the golf cup. Then they would swing away and play the hole repeatedly. OK, so the course was no Pinehurst No. 2, but it worked just fine, and as Reno put it, “I was pretty darn good.”

Reno and his friends proved a long-standing virtue of kids seemingly everywhere and through the ages is the ability to make up games – all you have to do is improvise. And, more often than not, a kids’ made-up game can be the best of games. Heck, such competition might be as good and intense as a final day at The Masters. And probably a lot more fun.

Reno’s first radio job came when he left Cleveland for Midland, Texas – sight unseen.

“I thought I was headed for a bunch of tumbleweed and bush country,” he said, “but it was nice. It was bigger and better than I thought it would be. My car was so packed with my possessions that I could hardly see out most of the windows.”

He eventually came to South Florida and has been on the air here for nearly two decades with a large and loyal following.

“We talk about everything,” he said of his show. “Music, country, sports, comedy. Whatever comes up.”

OK, you’re probably curious, and naturally so, about that mysterious moniker: “Doc Reno.”

Yes, you’re absolutely correct, that’s not his real name. The name basically came about because of his radio profession.

“I always wanted a short name, and radio stations like you to have a short and catchy name,” Reno said. “Also, I liked the city of Reno … much more so than Las Vegas. So there you have it.”

And, if you are curious, his real first name is Allan.

Yes, Doc Reno – the man who has never played a full round of golf – has a strange and curious name, and he also has a strange and curious connection to golf.

Now, he will use that connection for something special.

That will happen Feb. 5 when Golf and Reno get together at Jacaranda to help kids receive cancer treatment with his charity tournament.

He feels as though that is the least he can do.

Nothing strange and curious about that.

Actually, just thoughtful and perfect.

And , for Mr. Doc Reno, fulfilling.

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