Remembering Dick Smith Sr., PGA

As you may be aware, Dick Smith Sr., PGA, passed away earlier this week, and his family has released the details for his services. Smith’s viewing will be held at Our Lady of Peace Parrish (32 Carrol Ave., Williamstown, NJ 08094) on Wednesday, March 15 at 9:15 – 11:15 a.m. with mass beginning at 12:00 p.m. Bell-Hennessy Funeral Home will be handling all arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, the Smith family is asking for donations to be made in his name to PGA REACH Philadelphia. You may donate by clicking here, and selecting “I would like to dedicate this donation,” to input “Dick Smith Sr.”

To read the Section’s original remembrance for Mr. Smith, please see below.

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Dick Smith Sr., the 27th PGA of America president and 22nd Philadelphia PGA Section president; he was 80. Dick is survived by his wife Adrienne, brother and fellow PGA Member Tom, son and fellow PGA Member Section Past President Dick Jr., daughter Stephanie, daughter-in-law Michelle, and grandchildren Alexandria, Marissa, Zak, also a PGA Associate. The Section will share service information when it becomes available.

Smith was born in Ohio, and grew up in Baltimore, Md. He attended Loyola College and turned professional in 1962. That year, he came to the Philadelphia PGA Section as an assistant to George Griffin Jr. at Green Valley Country Club. From there, Smith joined Ken Gibson in New Jersey where he helped run the Golf Farm, Indian Spring Golf Course, and Wedgwood Country Club. 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. Smith moved over to the Woodcrest Country Club in 1981 as the PGA head professional, where he stayed for twelve years.

Smith has one of the most outstanding Philadelphia PGA Section tournament records in history. He won three Philadelphia PGA Professional Championships in succession, ultimately winning the championship five times. Smith played in five PGA Championships and a U.S. Open. He qualified for the PGA Professional Championship 15 times, Senior PGA Championship twice, U.S. Senior Open twice, and the Senior PGA Professional Championship three times. In 1970, he won the Philadelphia Open.

After several years of serving on the Section’s tournament committee, Smith was elected to the office of first vice president at the Section’s 1974 Fall Membership Meeting, where he was also elected tournament chair. 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, from 1978 to 1980. In late 1983, the Section sent Smith to the PGA of America for a three-year term as its District 2 director. At the 1986 PGA Annual Meeting, Smith was elected to national office for a two-year term as secretary. Following his term, he served as the vice president from 1989-1990, and president from 1991-1992.

After leaving national office, he also left Woodcrest to be the PGA director of golf at 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 this time, Smith set up a partnership that leased New York State’s Bethpage State Park Golf Course shop for five years, including in 2002, when the facility’s Black Course hosted the U.S. Open. During his time on Long Island, he was a dual member of both the Metropolitan and Philadelphia PGA Sections.

Smith returned to the Philadelphia PGA Section full-time as the PGA director of golf at two new golf courses in New Jersey. Later, Smith and the Section created the Dick Smith Cup Matches, which were contested each year between the assistant professionals from the Central Counties Chapter and the assistant professionals from the rest of the Section. In 2005, he was hired as the PGA general manager at Woodcrest Country Club, where his son Dick Smith Jr. had succeeded him as PGA Professional and was now in his 13th year.

Smith was the Philadelphia PGA Section’s Golf Professional of the Year in 1980, and was an original inductee into the Section’s Hall of Fame in 1992. Smith was inducted into the PGA of America’s PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame in 2005.

Dick’s dedication to the PGA of America, Philadelphia PGA Section, and the game of golf was impressive:

  • PGA of America president, 1991-1992
  • PGA of America Hall of Fame member, 2005
  • Philadelphia PGA Section president, 1978-1980
  • Philadelphia PGA Section Hall of Fame member, 1992
  • Philadelphia PGA Golf Professional of the Year, 1980
  • Philadelphia PGA Section first vice president, 1975-1977
  • Philadelphia PGA Section Playing Legend, 1992
  • Philadelphia PGA Section Player of the Year, 1971-1974, 1983
  • Philadelphia PGA Professional Champion, 1974, 1977, 1981-1982
  • Philadelphia PGA Section F. Edward DeBaufre Trophy for scoring average, 1971-1974, 1982-1983
  • Annual host of Philadelphia Assistant PGA Professional Championship
  • Namesake of the Philadelphia PGA Dick Smith Cup Matches

About the Philadelphia PGA Section
The Philadelphia PGA Section, covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware, is one of 41 geographical managing entities of the PGA of America. This Section manages nearly 900 PGA Members and Associates who are employed at over 590 golf facilities in our region.

Contact: Matt Frey, PGA, Communications Director, Philadelphia PGA Section,