Over his 50-year golfing career, Dick Seamer has bested Jack Nicklaus and holds the record for the lowest nine holes as an amateur. But after surviving prostate cancer in 2013, the captain of West Kent Golf Club has concentrated his efforts on raising funds for us with his successful annual golf days.
The Open Championship is a tournament most club golfers can only dream of playing in – but not for Bromley’s Dick Seamer.
The 69-year-old has been involved in the sport for over 50 years, broken world records and played on some of the world’s finest courses. But nothing stands out for him more than taking to the green at the prestigious tournament at Royal St George’s in 1981.
“Playing in The Open was something else,” says Dick. “I went from having a paper round to playing golf and it was clear that I was developing a talent for it.
“Because I was playing off scratch, I didn’t have to go through regional qualifying, so went straight into qualifying for The Open – which in 1981 was at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal. Funnily enough, I’ve been a member there ever since!”
After the first round I found myself four shots ahead of Jack Nicklaus
But even Dick wasn't expecting to play as well as he did on the fairways that day, out-performing one of the greats of the game.
“After the first round I found myself four shots ahead of Jack Nicklaus,” Dick recalls. “He was my idol and still is now. And to have achieved that is something else.”
It's the highlight of a career that had already seen him break a record four years earlier.
“I got into the Guinness Book of Records for the lowest nine holes for an amateur in 1977,” says Dick. “That was at Knole Park and I shot 28, which was eight under-par for the last nine holes, so that was quite an achievement.
“I’ve also played Augusta, playing Amen Corner in one under par for the first time – which takes a bit of doing.”
Prostate Cancer UK’s work has gone down very well with a lot of golf captains and clubs
But for all his success on the course, his biggest challenge has been off it. Dick was diagnosed with prostate cancer in April 2013. Like many other men, Dick didn’t experience any symptoms before learning of his life-changing prognosis following a routine check-up.
He acted quickly, undergoing a prostatectomy, radiotherapy and hormone injections, and has thankfully recovered. Now he's urging other men to go for regular check-ups, even if they're feeling fit and healthy.
“It’s just a simple blood test,” says Dick.“It’s such a simple thing to do. Within a week, you can find out whether you have a hint of having the disease.”
Dick’s diagnosis inspired him to raise money for us by hosting annual charity golf days at West Kent Golf Club, where he was captain during the club's centenary year in 2015. He's currently closing in on raising an impressive £25,000, with over £3,000 raised in 2018 alone.
“Prostate Cancer UK’s work has gone down very well with a lot of golf captains and clubs,” he said. “The charity has made it so easy for me to host a golf day, where I can raise reasonable amounts of money for what is a great cause.
“There will be a time when a complete cure is available, but you can’t get that far until you’ve raised a lot of money – whether it’s through golf days, like we’re doing, or something else.”
Dick Seamer joins Gordon Strachan and others at our golf day earlier this year.