Richard “Dick” Rene Farley, long-time resident of Stroudsburg, PA, and lifetime PGA member, passed away peacefully at age 91 on June 29, 2021. He was born to the late Clarence Valentine and Marie Agnes Farley on July 14, 1929 in Alameda, California.
Professional: Dick spent his childhood in Alameda, California. He could often be found at the Alameda Municipal Golf Links where he swept the pro shop or caddied in exchange for course privileges. He graduated with a business degree from City College of San Francisco and got his first job as an assistant pro at a golf course in Mare Island, CA. It was there that he met visiting golf professional, Harry Obitz, whose invitation would change the course of young Dick’s life. Harry invited Dick to work as an apprentice golf professional at Shawnee Inn in Pennsylvania. In 1948, Dick borrowed money to make the cross country trip and slept in the bag room until he could afford to rent a room. After his five year apprenticeship, he became an official member of the PGA on August 28, 1952. He and Harry used their teaching expertise to manage and develop several golf resorts throughout the 1960’s. They ended up in Freeport, Bahamas where they developed the Swing’s the Thing Golf Schools and Golf Show. The show was the first of its kind that was both instructional and entertaining, featuring golf professionals swinging in unison and performing trick shots. The Swing’s the Thing Golf Show toured the world with stops in Asia, Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico. They performed on national television and were invited to make a special appearance at President Eisenhower’s birthday party in Hershey, PA.
In 1974, Dick returned to Shawnee Inn and Country Club as Golf Director. He co-authored the book Six Days to Better Golf, and his Swing’s the Thing Golf Schools expanded both nationwide and internationally. Soon after, he began a partnership with Rick McCord and together they managed the golf operations at Orange Lake Country Club in Kissimmee, FL. Over the years he has written numerous articles on golf instruction and Golf Magazine named him one of their top 50 teaching professionals. Another one of Dick’s ventures during the early 70’s was World Pro-Am Golf Tournaments. He began with one tournament at Pebble Beach, CA which grew to 12 tournaments played all across the globe. Many amateurs and pros have fond memories of playing these tournaments at world renowned courses in Pebble Beach, Scotland, Ireland, Portugal, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Mexico. Some of his professional memberships and affiliations included: Lifetime PGA member, British PGA member, Professional Golf Writers Association member and teaching editor of Golf Magazine.
Personal: Despite all his previous accolades Dick remained down to earth and humble. He met the love of his life, Julie, at Shawnee Inn and Country Club in 1959. They were married in the Bahamas in 1966 where their daughters, Jackie and Lisa, were both born. Dick and Julie were happily married for almost 48 years until her death in 2014. They enjoyed spending time with their grandchildren, golfing, and traveling the world together. Dick enjoyed hunting almost as much as golf. He looked forward to spending time with dear friends during his yearly hunting trips to California, Nebraska, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
On Christmas Eve, 1992, Dick committed his life to Jesus Christ. He would say that above all else, this was the most important decision of his life. His faith and his family became the two things that mattered the most to him. Dick became a student of the Bible and enjoyed discussing theology with good friends. He was actively involved in Sunday school, prison ministry and founded a Prayer Warrior group in his retirement community. The many people who crossed his path, even in his last days, remarked on his kindness, humility, gentleness and generosity. He will be missed greatly by all who knew and loved him.
Dick is survived by his brothers, Bob Farley of Alameda CA, Ray Farley of Lodi, CA, and Don Wilson (Barbara) of Alameda CA; daughters Jackie Fisher (Chris) of Chattanooga, TN and Lisa Murray (Kevin) of Earlysville, VA; and grandchildren Joshua, Zachary, Jonathan and David Fisher and Bailee, Anna, Rachel and Meghan Murray.
The family will receive friends at Heritage Funeral Home, 7454 East Brainerd Rd. Chattanooga, TN on Saturday, July 10, 2021 from 2-5 PM. In addition, a Celebration of Life Service will be held at Shawnee Inn and Country Club at 11:30 AM, Monday, August 16, 2021. A reception will follow. Family visitation will be from 11:00-11:30 AM. A memorial contribution in Dick’s name may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Please visit www.heritagechattanooga.com to share words of comfort with the family.
Arrangements by Heritage Funeral Home East Brainerd Chapel.