• PGA Philadelphia Section Hall of Fame •

Richard N. “Dick” Smith, Sr.
Class of 1992

           

Dick Smith was born in Ohio in 1942 and grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. At age ten he began playing golf with his father at the Mount Pleasant Golf Course, a public course where he also caddied. He got his start playing competitively in the Baltimore City’s junior golf program. Each Monday morning in the summer the junior golfers could get on a bus at the Baltimore Country Club’s city course and be driven to a golf course where there would be a junior tournament for them to take part in. In 1959 he won the Maryland State Jaycee Junior Championship. Smith attended Loyola College in Baltimore and turned pro in 1962. That year he came to the Philadelphia Section as an assistant to George Griffin, Jr. at the Green Valley Country Club. In 1963 Smith joined Ken Gibson in New Jersey where he helped run the Golf Farm, the Indian Spring Golf Course and the Wedgwood Country Club. Smith credited Gibson with giving him the most help with his golf game. In the early 1970s he was the pro-manager of the Hi-Point Golf Club and in 1975 he went back to Wedgwood in a partnership that leased the course. One of the partners was Dick Hendrickson who he had caddied for when he was growing up in Baltimore. Smith moved over to the Woodcrest Country Club in 1981 as the head professional where he stayed for twelve years. Other than the pros that were successful on the PGA Tour, Smith had the most outstanding record in the Section’s tournaments. Smith won three Section Championships in succession and he won the tournament a total of five times. This tied him with Art Wall for the most wins in the Section Championship. Smith played in five PGA Championships and a U.S. Open. He qualified for the PGA Club Professional Championships fifteen times and the PGA Senior Club Professional Championship three times. In 1970 he tied for fourth at the Club Professional Championship and he won the Philadelphia Open. Beginning in 1969 there were seventeen Section Challenge Cup teams that competed against the Middle Atlantic Section and Smith was a member of the team sixteen times. Twice in the early 1970s Smith won the four round Prior Festival, which was the Section’s richest tournament at that time. Smith tied for 18th in the 1971 PGA Tour’s IVB Golf Classic, which was held at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club and in 1978 he tied for 17th at the IVB. He played in two U.S. Senior Opens and two PGA Seniors’ Championships. In the Philadelphia Section Smith was the Section’s “Player of the Year” five times and he won the DeBaufre Trophy for leading the Section in scoring average six times. After several years of serving on the tournament committee Smith was elected to the office of first vice president at the 1974 fall meeting, which made him the tournament chairman as well. This was his first political step in what would take him to the highest office in the PGA of America. After three years as the Section’s first vice president Smith was elected president. He served the Section as its 22nd president for three years, 1978 to 1980. In late 1983 the Philadelphia Section sent Smith to the national PGA for a three-year term as its director representing District II. At the national meeting in 1986 Smith was elected to national office for a two-year term as secretary. After that he served as the vice president in 1989-1990 and president for 1991-1992. After leaving national office he also left Woodcrest to be the director of golf at the new Galloway National Golf Club, which was still under construction. Two years later he purchased the Williamstown Golf Center, which he operated for seven years. During that time Smith set up a partnership that leased the Bethpage State Park Golf Course’s golf shop from the state of New York for five years. That included 2002 when the U.S. Open was played at Bethpage. With the exception of the week of the U.S. Open, the lease gave them the opportunity to sell U.S. Open merchandise for those five years. During his time on Long Island he was a member of the Metropolitan Section and the Philadelphia Section. Smith returned to the Philadelphia Section full time as the director of golf at two new golf courses in South Jersey that were owned by a land development group. Smith and the Philadelphia Section created the Dick Smith Cup Matches that were contested each year between the assistants from the Central Counties Chapter and the assistants from the rest of the Philadelphia Section. In 2005 he was hired as the general manager at the Woodcrest Country Club where his son Dick Jr. had succeeded him as the golf professional and was now in his thirteenth year. Smith was the Philadelphia Section’s “Professional of the Year” in 1980 and he was an original inductee into the Philadelphia Section’s Hall of Fame in 1992. Smith was inducted into the PGA of America,s “PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame” in 2005.

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