• PGA Philadelphia Section Hall of Fame •

Richard L. "Dick" Hendrickson
Class of 2007

           

Dick Hendrickson was born in 1935 at St. Louis, Missouri and he grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. Baseball was his game when he was young. During his high school career he pitched nine no-hit games. Hendrickson thought that he was on the way to the major leagues but the best offer he received was a Class D contract. At the age of 18 Hendrickson bought a driver, a five-iron, two-dozen used golf balls and a pack of tees even though he had never played golf. He then went to a public park where he had played baseball and began to try and learn the game of golf. At the park he met a man who played golf, but not well. The man showed Hendrickson a few fundamentals and he practiced in the park. After six months of practice, his tutor took him to one of Baltimore’s public courses, Mt. Pleasant Golf Course. Even though Hendrickson had never hit a putt or a chip shot he proceeded to shoot an 86 in his first round of golf. After three-years of practicing and playing at Mt. Pleasant, while working some jobs that would not interfere with his golf, he turned pro. Hendrickson worked as an assistant pro at Mt. Pleasant for two-years before coming to the Philadelphia Section in 1958 as an assistant to Skee Riegel at the Radnor Valley Country Club. He spent two-years at Radnor Valley and two-years at the Country Club of Scranton before becoming the head pro at the Golf Farm Golf Club in 1962. The next year he moved next-door as the professional at the newly opened Laurel Oak Country Club and five-years later he moved to another new club, the Little Mill Country Club. While working at those clubs his golf game was rapidly improving so he began playing some tournaments on the PGA Tour during the winter months. In 1972, at the age of 37, he left Little Mill for a shot at the PGA Tour, which he played for two years. The only way a nonexempt player could get into a tournament was through Monday qualifying and if he did qualify for a tournament and made the cut he could then play the next week. Hendrickson struggled with a bad back for several years. With his six-foot seven-inch body travel wasn’t easy, but during those two years he managed to get into 31 events and make 27 cuts, which was an accomplishment. At the same time he came back to the Section to play in some of the more lucrative events. He won the Philadelphia PGA Championship in 1972 along with the 1972 and 1973 Philadelphia Opens. In 1974 Hendrickson was off the PGA Tour most of the year and survived by playing in local tournaments. One of those tournaments was the 72-hole Schmidt Golf Festival, which offered the largest purse of the year. The tournament was first held in 1967 and Hendrickson won that one along with the ones played in 1972 and 1973. Of the eight Schmidt Golf Festivals that were held Hendrickson finished third or better in seven of them. In 1975 Hendrickson and Dick Smith, Sr. put together a partnership that leased the Wedgwood Country Club for four years. After 1978 they dissolved that agreement and Hendrickson became the professional at the Loch Nairn Golf Club where he stayed three years before moving to Radley Run as the professional where he stayed for six years. In late 1987 Hendrickson left Radley Run for a shot at the PGA Senior Tour. He played in the 1987 PGA Senior Tour’s qualifying school and when he didn’t earn an exemption for the next year it meant that he had to once again play in the Monday qualifying events in order to compete in that week’s tournament. This was even more difficult than the PGA Tour had been as there were usually only four spots to qualify for each week. In spite of that burden Hendrickson made it into twelve tournaments, finishing second twice. In one of those he led going into the last round after opening with 64-65. He finished 38th on the money list, which was remarkable since most of the leading players had played in thirty or more events. That position made him exempt for most of the tournaments in 1989. He then decided to see if he could improve his position by attending PGA Senior Tour’s Q-School again. He was successful as he secured one of the eight full exemptions by finishing third. That year Hendrickson played in 33 events and finished 31st on the money list, which was the last money position that made a player fully exempt for the next year. For the next four years he finished well up on the money list with 22nd being his best. By the end of 1993 he was in the top 31 on the PGA Tour’s lifetime total money list, which exempted him for most of the tournaments each year through 1997. His last two years on the PGA Senior Tour were 1998 and 1999 where he was able to play in seventeen and eleven events. During his twelve years on the PGA Senior Tour Hendrickson finished second four times and third twice. During his career he played in four U.S. Opens, three PGA Championships, twelve PGA Seniors’ Championships and six U.S. Senior Opens. Hendrickson won the Philadelphia Open three times, the Philadelphia PGA Championship once and five times he finished second in the Philadelphia PGA Championship. He was a member of ten Schmidt’s Challenge Cup Teams. Hendrickson played in eight PGA Club Professional Championships where he made the cut six times. Five times he was the “Player of the Year” in the Philadelphia Section and he won the DeBaufre Trophy for having the low scoring average four times. Hendrickson was the Section’s first vice president and tournament chairman in 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1972 along with being the secretary in 1971. In 1971 he was the Section’s Golf Professional of the Year and in 2007 he was inducted into the Philadelphia Section PGA’s Hall of Fame.
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