Margaret “Wiffi” Smith had already established herself as a leading international amateur golfer when at age 18 she became a St. Clair resident and won the Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship. She was the youngest winner ever at that time. Smith went on to become an LPGA star with eight professional tour wins before severely hurting her wrists in a motor scooter accident that ended her competitive career.
A native of California, she lived from age 11 to 18 in Mexico where she learned to play golf. Known as one of the longest hitters in women’s golf, she won tournaments around the world, including the Women’s Championship of Mexico in 1952, the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship in 1954 and the British Women’s Amateur and French Women’s Amateur in 1956. She also claimed several other amateur titles, including the 1955 North and South Women’s Amateur and the 1956 Trans-Mississippi Amateur, and played on the 1956 Curtis Cup team for the U.S.
She turned professional in 1957 and won twice on the LPGA Tour that year. Her eight pro wins came in a span of four years, including three wins in 1960. She was known for traveling the LPGA circuit in a mobile home that included a piano, and for being one of the most colorful characters on the tour.
After her accident in 1961, she became a highly respected LPGA teaching professional working with top amateurs and professionals from around the country. Golf legend Peggy Kirk Bell said Smith had one of the greatest golf swings of all time and was longer off the tee than even legend Mickey Wright.