Dick Siderowf was one of the hottest names in amateur golf nearly 50 years ago. Twice winning the British Amateur — one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world — in the 1970s, he seemed poised for even bigger things. So what stopped him from going pro?
“The guys just weren’t making the money back then that they are now,” the Westport resident says. As successful as he was on the golf course, Siderowf was doing just fine for himself off the course. “When I won my British Amateur titles I was in my mid-to-late 30s and by then I had already established my career as a stockbroker.”
But that didn’t mean he stopped playing the game he loved. And when he played, Siderowf came out a winner more than his fair share, capturing numerous titles in a 30-year period from 1955 to 1985. He is a member of the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame.
Now 81, he’s still winning $5 Nassaus from his buddies at the Century Country Club in Purchase, New York, when he isn’t working as a stockbroker. “I play to about a 7-handicap and I’m good enough to take a few bucks from the boys at the club,” he says with a chuckle. “Of course, I’m playing from the more forward tees these days. The other day I shot a 78.”
A member of the Century Country Club for 45 years, Siderowf also occasionally plays at the Connecticut Golf Club in Easton. Siderowf grew up in New Britain and learned the game at Newington’s Indian Hills Country Club and at Stanley Golf Course in his hometown. He has been married to Topsy Siderowf, a golf writer, for 57 years.
Siderowf won his two British Amateurs during a four-year span in the mid-’70s. In 1973, he prevailed at Royal Porthcawl in Wales and then captured his second crown at the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland in 1976. “I guess that was a top highlight of my career, winning at the Old Course at St. Andrews,” he says of his victory over J.C. Davies in 37 holes. “It went to extra holes and I was fortunate enough to win on the first extra hole.” This year’s British Amateur, the 124th, will be played June 17-22 in Ireland.
A Duke University graduate, Siderowf also prevailed in numerous other amateur tournaments, including the Connecticut, Metropolitan, New England and Canadian amateurs, as well as the Connecticut Open. He was involved with five winning Walker Cup teams and played in a number of Masters and U.S. Opens as an amateur, missing out by a single stroke on being low amateur at The Masters one magical April.
Siderowf offers words of wisdom about the game. “When you spend four hours with someone on a golf course it tells you a lot about the person, how they react to adversity and handle success. The game exposes you. A famous writer, Alistair Cooke, said that golf is not a microcosm of life, life is a microcosm of golf.”