News & Notes
NEWS AND NOTES
Hank Smedley, local golf course builder of Radley Run, Loch Nairn, dies
s an owner/operator of a construction company, Hank Smedley spent
most of his 87 years building.
In the mid-1960s, he made his first foray into the golf business when Smedley
Construction Co., was hired to construct Radley Run Country Club near West
Chester, Pa. from plans drawn up by architect Alfred Tull. Obviously intrigued
by the experience, Smedley was driven to get deeper into the business, and
soon thereafter he shocked his co-workers with an announcement.
Loch Nairn Golf Club golf professional, Chris Conklin, picks up the story: “I
was talking with his brother, Bud, the other day, who is 94 and sharp as a tack.
He was telling me that [Hank] came to work at the construction company one
day and said, ‘I want to build a golf course.’
“He said they thought he was nuts, but he was determined.”
The dream became a reality in 1969 when Smedley designed and built Three
Palms Ocean Course in Jamaica. Now called Cinnamon Hill, it was at one time
considered one of the Top 100 courses in the world.
Four decades and several additional golf facilities later, Smedley still considered Three Palms his signature effort. The New Garden, Pa., resident died
in September, but he left behind an ambitious mix of daily fee courses,
including Loch Nairn in Southern Chester County and Wetlands Golf Course
in Aberdeen, Md.
“I didn’t realize some of the stuff he was associated with. He led a very full
life,” said Conklin, who was hired four years ago from Coatesville Country Club.
“Mr. Smedley used to come into the pro shop about once a month, he sat
in the same chair and just talked. And you wouldn’t believe some of the amaz-
ing stories. He was an entrepreneur and he built a lot of great places, includ-
ing Loch Nairn, and I hope it is around forever.”
On the heels of his successful debut in Jamaica, Smedley found a golf
project much closer to home when in 1970 he purchased the Red Fox Inn
near Avondale, Pa. along with a partner. Adding to an existing nine-hole
course, Smedley acquired additional land, designed nine more holes himself,
and proceeded to build Loch Nairn, the first public course in the region.
He also turned the Inn, which dates back to 1734, into the rustic Farmhouse
Restaurant, and added the Greathouse Tavern, which serves as Loch Nairn’s
In the mid-1990s, Smedley was in his early 70s but still interested in adding
to his golf businesses. Along with his son, Chris, Smedley jointly designed
Wetlands Golf Course, then built it with no outside contracting, and proceeded
to operate the 18-hole public facility.
– Neil Geoghegan
Thank You, Volunteers! Thank You, Volunteers!
The Golf Association of Philadelphia thanked its volunteers for their service on Oct. 12 at Penn Oaks GC with its annual Volunteers Day. The
day included lunch, golf and dinner for all those who assisted the Association this year in administering its tournament schedule and rating courses.
The Association is proud to say more than 125 individuals donated their time in 2011. If you are interested in volunteering for the Association,
please contact the Golf Office at 610-687-2340.