Frank Smith RIP
Death of former EPPA and FIPPA President
The Pitch and Putt fraternity, across Ireland and internationally, is mourning the untimely loss of Frank Smith (R.I.P.). A former top-class player and a hugely experienced administrator, Frank achieved massively and influenced widely during his long and illustrious involvement in the sport of Pitch and Putt.
It was in 1957 that Frank Smith was encouraged by of Glenanne's "Mr Pitch and Putt", Frank Fleming, and joined the Kimmage, Dublin club. Frank Smith was elected to Glenanne Club Committee in 1958 and remained involved for the next twelve years or so.
In the late 1960s, a Pitch and Putt Club was formed in Churchtown on Dublin's southside by the regulars at two local pubs, the County Club and the Bottle Tower. Thus, was County Tower club born. Frank Smith was playing out of County Tower club when he travelled to Castleisland to contest the 1970 National Strokeplay Championship. Robbie McCarthy (Carrigaline) won that championship with 143 for 54 holes. Frank was runner-up, just three behind (having led by two after 36). Further success on the Pitch and Putt course came with a Dublin League win with Garda but 1976 was a memorable year. Frank won the Leinster Strokeplay Championship at Lucan and added the Dublin Senior Matchplay Championship at C.Y.M.C. for good measure. Frank represented Dublin on three occasions in the Inter-County Championship and played on the winning Dublin team at Cloghogue in 1970 (alongside Pat McLoughlin, Eamon O'Reilly and Eamon Tully).
Frank's first taste of administration at county level was a very successful stint as selector of Dublin Inter-County teams. Having been Dublin's delegate to Leinster Council for many years, he was finally elected to Dublin County Board as Competitions Secretary in 1988. After that, he served as League Secretary and Vice Chairman before succeeding long-serving Chairman Kevin Lambert at 1995 Convention. Frank was Dublin's Chairman for one year. Frank's wife Violet (to whom Frank was devoted for over 50 years) was a member of the Dublin County Board executive from 1980 to 1988.
Frank rallied (with his Dublin colleague Des Flanagan) to Sean Coyne's call for Dublin representation on the Leinster Council Officer Board in 1992. He was elected Competitions Secretary, a position he held until his elevation to the provincial Vice Presidency in November 1995. Features of Frank's work as Competitions Secretary for Dublin and Leinster (and later nationally) were attractively presented timesheets and scoreboards and events, which ran like clockwork. He remained as Leinster Vice President up to the turn of the millennium.
Frank Smith was representing the I.G.B. club in Dublin's Goatstown when he was elected Competitions Secretary of the Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland at Convention in Longford in December 1998. After nine years as Competitions Secretary and following a club move to Glenville, Frank was fittingly honoured with the PPUI Presidency from 2007 – 2009.
Frank Smith and Mervyn Cooney comprised the Irish delegation at the historic 1999 meeting to debate the formation of the European Pitch and Putt Association (EPPA). Earlier that year, Ireland won the inaugural European team championship at Chelmsford. Ireland’s successful team manager at Chelmsford was Frank Smith. Frank remained in charge of the Irish team that defeated Catalonia at I.G.B. in 2000. Around that time, Frank delivered advertising and sponsorship revenue to the PPUI.
The Special Olympics World Summer Games were held in Ireland in 2003. Frank Smith was Sports Commissioner at Glenville during Pitch and Putt’s debut at the Special Olympics. Later that year, Frank was part of the Competition Committee when the PPUI hosted the European Team championships at McDonagh in September 2003.
Frank Smith was elected President of EPPA and FIPPA (the world Pitch and Putt federation) at the Handicap 1 course in Catalonia on Friday 12 March 2010. During his four-year term in that dual role, Frank travelled extensively around Europe to propagate the Pitch and Putt message.
Frank was also very interested in golf and snooker. He was a member of Stackstown Golf Club and attended many top-class tournaments, such as the Ryder Cup. His occasional snooker partner was none other than golf legend, Padraig Harrington.
Frank was passionate about all aspects of Pitch and Putt, including development and coaching. Frank possessed the rare ability to achieve the optimum balance of gravitas and levity in the multiplicity of roles that he performed with distinction. He will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace.