Down the Fairway: Smack, longtime area pro, retiring to Maryland
Tom Smack, one of the most popular and talented club professionals in the Capital Region for nearly three decades, is saying goodbye.
The longtime head pro at The Sagamore Resort for 25 years before moving over to Top of the World Golf Club in Lake George for the last four seasons, has decided to retire to Annapolis, Md., to be closer to his son, daughter and grandchildren. He and his wife, Angie, left Saturday.
Smack, 68, was one of the most recognizable club pros in our region. Not only was he a favorite among the Northeastern New York PGA members, but he also appeared regularly with WNYT sports anchor Rodger Wyland to give televised golf tips every summer before Colonie Golf & Country Club head pro Frank Mellet took over those duties a few years ago.
Smack was known for being the perfect host. While at The Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing, he invited all the local club professionals to spend a night or two at the hotel during their annual fall meeting.
“I tried to bring something when I came to this section, and I wanted to let the pros around this area know that they were appreciated,” said Smack. “It was a win-win situation for us at The Sagamore, because they could spend a few nights there in the late fall, and they really didn’t take up any rooms that were needed. They also sent us a lot of business over the years, because when anyone out of town came to the area and asked the local pros where there was a good place to play on their vacation, they would send them to us.”
Smack’s wife also made her presence felt in the North Country as the longtime clerk and school secretary of the Bolton School District. Angie and Tom established a booster club golf tournament that raised more than $300,000 in scholarships for that school district over a 10-year span.
“We made it a fantastic event,” Smack said. “There wasn’t much money in the school district back then, and Angie took the ball and ran with it. We had sponsors like Freihofer’s and Neil Golub with Price Chopper. It was amazing that the event did so much for that little community. There are some college kids that we helped who are now teachers all over the area.”
Smack, who has had health problems over the last decade, said he is healthy again after a leg surgery last winter, and he thinks this is the perfect time to call it quits.
“It’s hard to leave an area that I’ve spent more time in than any other place I’ve ever lived,” he said. “There are so many great courses around this area and so many great pros. I’ve had a lot of friends here, like Tom Haggerty, who made me feel like I was a member at Glens Falls Country Club every time I visited there, and Kevin Hughes of Saratoga Golf & Polo Club.”
In his prime, Smack was one of the best players in our area — pro or amateur.
He had an unbelievably fast swing that reminded me of former world No. 1 Nick Price, and he could really belt the ball, especially off the tee.
“I’ve slowed down quite a bit since those days,” he said with a chuckle.
Smack came to the Capital Region from the Mid-Atlantic PGA, where he was the Player of the Year in both 1974 and 1977.
Once he moved here, he won the NENYPGA Sectional Stroke Play Championship, the NENYPGA Match Play Championship and the NENYPGA Senior Stroke Play Championship. He also won other local majors, including the Donald Ross Classic, a special two-day event held at both The Sagamore Resort and Glens Falls Country Club, and the old Capital District Open twice.
Smack also qualified for the U.S. Senior Open Championship on two occasions.
“I had a very rewarding playing career here in the Northeast New York PGA section,” Smack said. “Winning all those tournaments was important, but I was more proud of being named the section’s Professional of the Year in both 1997 and 2007. That meant more to me, because it reflected everything we achieved over the years by just
doing the right thing. I was a member of the board of directors and served as an officer on many committees. I tried to do everything I could to help the local PGA.”
Smack, a consummate professional, will be missed.
GOING LOW AT STADIUM
The scoreboard will be loaded with red numbers when the annual Stadium Golf Classic is held May 4-5 at Stadium Golf Club.
The two-day event will have a two-person scramble in the first round and a two-man best-ball format the second round. Many of the area’s top players will be competing, and with the team format, birdies will be plentiful.
There will be an open division and a senior division (for players 50 and older). Both rounds will have
8 a.m. shotgun starts, unless there are fewer than 60 teams entered. Entry fee is $300 per team, and includes golf, cart and range balls both days. Maximum field will be 68 teams. There will be more than $7,000 in total prizes, including top prize of $1,100 for the winning team in both divisions. Call Stadium Golf Club at 374-9104 for more information.
u Tee times at Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course begin
April 27. Tee times are suggested for weekday play, but are required on weekends. Call the Amsterdam Municipal pro shop at 842-6480 for tee times.
u Amsterdam Municipal has also announced that the pro shop will offer free lessons in May. Equipment will be provided. There will be a junior golf school July 8-9 from 10 a.m. to noon for youngsters 8 and older. Equipment will be provided. Call 842-4265 to register.
u Saratoga Lake Golf Club is now open. With several renovations to the course, rates will be reduced for the first few weeks of the season. Weekday rates will be $30 Monday through Friday with a cart. Weekend rates will be $40 Saturday and Sunday with a cart.
u The seventh annual Airway Meadows Golf Club Four-Player Scramble will be held May 11. Registration will be at 7 a.m., followed by an 8 a.m. shotgun start. Call Peter Riggi at 695-4577 for more information.
u It’s not too early to start thinking about the fourth annual Jack Scaccia Sr. Memorial Golf Tournament, which will be held
Aug. 12 at Mohawk River Country Club & Chateau. Scaccia was a bowling proprietor in the Capital Region for more than 40 years and was also an avid golfer who was a member of Pinehaven Country Club. In fact, the last major bowling event for the weekly Huck Finn events is named after him, and the fianls will be taped today at 5 p.m. at Boulevard Bowl. In his memory, a scholarship has been established. The entry fee will be $125 and includes lunch and dinner. Entry blanks are available at Boulevard Bowl, Alpha Lanes and Town ’N Country Lanes. You can also call 393-5013 for more information.
u The Edison Club will host the 17th annual Friends of Union Athletics Golf Classic May 20. Entry fee is $550 per foursome and includes golf, cart, driving range, gifts, lunch, barbecue dinner and on-course competitions. Entry deadline is
May 10. There will be a noon shotgun start.
u McGregor Links will be the site of the first Eastern New York Golf Association weekly event Monday.
u Local amateurs get a taste of tournament competition when the Capital Region Amateur Golf Association Classic No. 1 is held Wednesday at Saratoga National Golf Club. There will be gross and net divisions.
u Pinehaven Country Club will be the host site for the Northeastern New York PGA’s Pro-Assistant Pro Championship on Monday.
Bob Fanniff aced the 141-yard fifth hole with a 6-iron at Stadium Golf Club.
Evan Bopp, 12, collected his first hole-in-one with a pitching wedge on the 80-yard 11th hole at Whispering Pines Executive Golf Course.
Jim Geiger eagled the third hole at Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course.