It might not be exactly fire to fire, but Dick Smith has traded in one set of headaches for another, and he's eagerly looking forward to it.
Smith, a one-time Baltimore resident (his mother still lives here) and veteran golf professional in the Philadelphia area, recently completed a two-year term as president of the Professional Golfers' Association of America. Now, he is ready to assume a position as a partner in a new exclusive golf club in Absecon, N.J.
"I had mixed emotions about finishing my term," Smith said yesterday, taking time from wrapping up the loose ends of his position as director of golf at Woodcrest CC in Cherry Hill, N.J. "It was an unbelievable experience.
"However, I accomplished what I wanted to do. Now it's the next man's turn [Gary Schaal, of Surfside Beach, S.C.]. I was involved as an officer of the PGA for the last six years; now it's time for others. I turned over the position, but there are still things to be finished."
Another thing to be finished is Smith's new home, Galloway National Golf Club.
One of the founding partners, he will carry the title of executive vice president/director of golf.
"We have been working on this for four years," Smith said, "and now we have all the necessary permits, the design work by Tom Fazio is finished, and we're ready to start construction, probably about the first of April. The opening is scheduled for 1994.
"We portray this as very limited access. We won't see how many rounds we can play, but rather provide a comfortable atmosphere for the serious, pure golfer. And there will be no [real estate] development with it. Our membership will be limited to 300.
"There are a lot of summer residents at the shore, plus the tourism from Atlantic City nearby, and there isn't another club like this around here," Smith added. "Atlantic City CC is a private country club, and it's full, anyway."
Galloway National will play at 6,660 yards from the regular tees (6,938 from the back) and play to a par-72. There is some elevation change and five holes are on Brigantine Bay. "I'm excited about the project and confident of its future," said Smith.
A local honor
Two Middle Atlantic area golf courses, including Caves Valley, are among the sites listed in Golf Digest's latest breakdown of new courses.
In "Best New Private," Caves Valley GC, the Fazio-designed layout in Owings Mills, has been rated third behind the Atlantic Golf Club, a Rees Jones design in Bridgehampton, N.Y., and the Witch Hollow course, the private half of a 36-hole Bob Cupp-designed development at Pumpkin Ridge GC in Cornelius, Ore.
The Green Course at the Golden Horseshoe in Williamsburg, Va., a Jones design, placed fourth in the "Best New Resort" category.
In another end-of-year list by Golf Digest, consider these fees for pro golfers at corporate outings: Greg Norman gets $75,000; Arnold Palmer, $50,000; Phil Mickelson, $30,000 for goodness sakes; Payne Stewart, $20,000, or Gary McCord, $7,500. And how about some other nationally recognized entertainers and celebrities for singing or talking? Ella Fitzgerald, $30,000; Norman Schwartzkopf, $25,000; or Gerald Ford, $20,000.
Bruce Lehnhard, a former Middle Atlantic PGA champion while head professional at Lake of the Woods GC in Locust Grove, Va., earned full-exempt status for the 1993 Senior PGA Tour during the recent qualifying tournament at Mission Hills North Course in Rancho Mirage, Calif. . . . Past assistant Ray Hargraves is the head pro at Lake of the Woods. . . . In the 147-player field of the Florida Women's Open at the Plantation Inn Resort in Crystal River, Fla., Kim Williams of Bethesda tied for 17th on 76-73-75224, and former Kensington resident Michelle Mackall tied for 23rd with 74-79-72225. LPGA rookie Denise Baldwin won with 217. . . . The ultimate golf gift might well be the PGA Home Video release of The Complete History of Golf, a four-volume, 6-hour, 40-minute series that chronicles six centuries of golf. . . . For the post-Christmas golfer, ABC-TV will present its Three-Tour Challenge Saturday and Sunday. Taped at the New Albany, Ind., course, it features head-to-head competition among representative of the three pro tours: Dottie Mochrie-Nancy Lopez-Patty Sheehan; Raymond Floyd-Fred Couples-Tom Kite; and Jack Nicklaus-Chi Chi Rodriguez-Larry Laoretti.