A four-year letterman in golf at Ashland High School, Dick Smail (1951 graduate) is the third member of the 1951 golf team to be inducted into the Ashland County Sports Hall of Fame, joining the late Dr. Mel Woelfling and Jack Miller.
Dick, born to Clarence and Alberta Smail, November 13, 1933, in Ashland, was a member of the 1949 and ’50 Ashland teams that qualified for the Ohio State Championship Tournament. The strong 1950 squad finished fourth at the state meet.
In 1951, he competed in the National Caddy Championship. Before bowing out in the quarterfinals, Dick defeated Bobby Nichols, who gained fame by winning the National PGA Championship in 1964.
As a freshman at Ohio University, Dick made the Bobcat golf team as a walk-on in the spring of 1952. Over three Mid-American Conference Championships (1953-55), he averaged a fine 73.5 strokes per round. The Ashland native shared the conference medalist honors in 1954 and again in 1955.
At Ohio University, he lettered four-years, averaging 75.12 strokes each round. During this period, he was even better when playing against collegiate golf powerhouse Duke University, needing only an average 72.5 shots to complete a round. In 1955, OU participated in the Division I NCAA Golf Championship Tournament. In honor of his outstanding golf play at Ohio University, Dick was elected to the Ohio University’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989.
In 1956, he shot one eagle and nine birdies (59) at Riverside Golf Course in Berea, thus posting the first under 60 round in the history of the Cleveland golf district.
Club championships were won by Dick in 1957 and ’58 at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Brecksville, and in 1961 and ’62 at the Ashland Country Club. At Ashland, he was club runner-up five times between 1963 and ’69. Earlier in his career, he was runner-up in the 1952 Club Championship at Ashland and 1955 runner-up at the Athens Country Club Tournament. In 1953, he was the Ohio Junior Champion.
Other golf achievements included winning the 1961 Cleveland District Tournament at Congress Lake Country Club in Hartville (1969); being the 1962 Cleveland District 72-hole medalist (72-72-71-76); being rated equal to Tom Weiskopf by the Cleveland District Golf Association in 1963; taking medalist honors in 1963 and ’64 Shelby Country Club Invitational; and winning the 1964 Ashland Country Club.
In 1964, Dick qualified for the sectional United States Open qualifying tournament by shooting a 74 at Portage Country Club, and a 71 at Fairlawn Country Club in Akron. Again in 1968, he advanced to the U.S. Open qualifying tournament by shooting a 76 at Ashland Country Club and a 76 at Westbrook Country Club in Mansfield.
While serving as the golf professional at Galion Country Club for seven years, Dick helped raise $27,000 for the muscular dystrophy fund. From 1997 to 1999, he filled the position of Assistant Pro at Galion Country Club. During the past five years he has been as instructor at Ashland’s Paradise Hills golf course.
Dick feels his greatest contribution to the game of golf continues to be teaching sound fundamentals to teen-aged golfers. One of his students was the Ashland High School Girls Varsity Team Medalist in the 2002 State Championship Qualifier. Playing for the 2003 Ashland High School boys varsity team, two of his students were named to the All Conference Team.
The list of fine high school golfers helped by Dick includes Steve Paramore, Jerry Merkel, Steve Pemberton, Mike Healy and Brent Deems.
In addition to being an outstanding golfer, Dick has left his mark on the local bowling lanes. In 1969, he won the Ashland City Singles Championship (actual and Handicap), the 1970 All Events Title (actual) and recorded the high series and high average in the Merchant-A League during the 1972 season.
Dick presently resides in Ashland. He was member of the United States Army Reserves from 1956-64.
Nominator: Doug Brewer