Who is Warren Smith?
Smith was born in Escanaba, Michigan but the family soon moved to Gadsden, Alabama where he started playing golf at the age of 11. He won his first match at 16, set a new amateur record of 31 at the Gadsden Country Club at 18, and won the 25th annual Beauvoir Country Club Invitational in Montgomery, Alabama at 19.
In 1945, he served three months in the U.S. Merchant Marine, delivering troop supplies to Naples, Italy. He returned to the U.S. and served as head pro at Seiberling Country Club in Akron, Ohio while working for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. One year later, he became the first head pro at the newly opened Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio, Texas.
Smith was known for his long tee shots and accurate iron game. His greatest golf achievement came in 1955 during the Texas Open, when he hit seven birdies in a row—a record for a PGA event—at Brackenridge Park Golf Course in San Antonio. The record stood until 1961 when Bob Goalby scored eight birdies in a row during the St. Petersburg Open.
Smith was instrumental in luring the Texas Open to Oak Hills, where it was played from 1961 to 1966. He played often with Dow Finsterwald and Arnold Palmer, who won the Texas Open in 1960, 1961 and 1962. Smith launched Oak Hills' Junior Program, which turned out four all-city champions, and he mentored several young golfers, including Joe Conrad, who won the British Amateur in 1955. He also coached the Trinity University golf team in its 1952 victory over golf powerhouse North Texas State University, the latter school's only loss from 1949 to 1952 when it won four NCAA golf championships.
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