Former PGA President Who Teed His Career Off in Lafayette Hill, Passes at Age 80

dick smith
Image via Gerald S. Williams at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Dick Smith, Sr.

Dick Smith Sr., former Professional Golfers Association (PGA) president and hall of fame golfer, has passed away at age 80. As a 19 year old, he arrived in Lafayette Hill and launched his career. Gary Miles encapsulated his life in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Smith moved to Montgomery County in 1962 as the assistant golf pro for Green Valley Country Club. He had learned the game in Akron, Ohio, site of his birth, and honed it after a move to Baltimore that preceded his arrival in the Philadelphia suburbs.

His six-foot, five-inch height gave him a powerful swing.

Smith’s legendary playing career earned him:

  • Notable wins that included the 1970 Philadelphia Open and three straight Philadelphia PGA Section championships
  • Philadelphia PGA Section player of the year for four consecutive years
  • A 44th place tie in the 1970 U.S. Open
  • A 17th place finish in the 1992 Senior British Open

As PGA president, Smith worked to improve the game’s training and education, as well as widen its pool of players. Golf became a Special Olympics sport under his direction, and his efforts opened club memberships to women and athletes of color.

Current PGA president John Lindert said of Smith’s passing: “The PGA of America is heartbroken.”

More on the life and career of Dick Smith is at The Philadelphia Inquirer.


Dick Smith’s Legend of the PGA highlight reel.

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