Tribute to Dick Estey

February 2017

32-year member, Dick Estey, passed away November 17, 2016 near his home in Rancho Mirage. Dick was a member who truly personified the Waverley spirit. A gentleman in the truest sense of the word, Dick’s impressive golf achievements were only eclipsed by his kindness and engagement with every demographic of our membership community. Dick was a fixture on the driving range, in the clubhouse and on the course. He was always ready with a compliment, a swing tip, or just a conversation, whether it was to an old friend, or someone he was meeting for the first time. 

In Dick’s impressive junior career, he was the only three-time winner of the Oregon Boys Junior Championship. He was a State High School champion and in 1948 was invited, as an 18-year-old amateur, to play in a PGA event, the Portland Open, where the field included professionals like Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, and Johnny Palmer. Dick was a two-time winner of the Portland City Championship (1952 and 1957), though perhaps more impressively, he would also register runner-up finishes in the same city-wide all-ages tournament over 30 years later in 1989 and 1991. He was inducted into the Portland Interscholastic League hall of fame in 2009. 

His on the course success as a young man provided him a road to other incredible, unique experiences. He participated in national amateur championships, represented the United States in international amateur competition, and played golf in a special program for the Navy. Most uniquely, Waverley displays memorabilia from his experiences in the 1947 Ryder Cup caddying for golf legend Henry Cotton. He would also caddy for Sam Snead in the 1946 PGA Championship. 

Waverley further showcases Dick’s international achievements later in life. After taking over twenty years away from the game of golf to expand his businesses and enjoy family life, in his early 50s, Dick began playing and winning major senior international tournaments in the US, Mexico, Canada and Great Britain, winning nearly a dozen and attaining the rank of the #2 senior amateur golfer in the world.

Domestically, Dick remains in the record-books. He set a competitive-course record at Astoria Golf Club, shooting a 65 in 1958. Over his life, he would register eleven holes-in-one. He won club championships at Columbia Edgewater (1952), Portland Golf Club (1964), and Springs Golf Club (5x). He was the senior Waverley Golf Club Champion 10 times. He was also a member of the “shoot your age” club. At the time of his passing at age 86, shooting his age was still relatively routine.    

Dick was always generous to Waverley members with his time and resources. A member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Dick routinely arranged for trips for Waverley members to play the Old Course and tour the clubhouse. In Portland, he was renowned for the tours of his “golf museum” an internationally recognized collection of golf artifacts and memorabilia dating hundreds of years old. He treasured sharing the history of golf with friends new and old. He most recently shared his collection with the membership at the Waverley Speaker Series in 2016. A constant presence on the driving range, he loved socializing with the youngest to the oldest golfers.

Dick treasured sharing Waverley with four generations of his family. He was an iconic member who will not soon be forgotten, for all the joy he brought to our entire community.