Ben Smith was born in 1921 and raised in Ft. Myers, Florida. He won the Florida State High School Championship in 1938 and 1939, and was spring loaded to go to Tulane on a golf scholarship. By chance, he met Professor Trueblood, who was the golf coach at the University of Michigan. The Professor invited Ben to Ann Arbor offering him room as his houseboy, which Ben accepted. Not coming from an affluent family but wanting a quality education and a chance for Law School, Ben migrated to Ann Arbor via his thumb in 1939. Four years later, he had the distinguished three-year record of finishing 3rd, 2nd, and 1st in the Big Ten Championships. After winning the Michigan Amateur at Gull Lake in 1950, Ben won the GAM Championship three times and qualified for six USGA Championships.
He immediately entered the service in 1943 and moved quickly to take command of a Navy Sub Chaser in the South Pacific. Fortunately the war ended before Ben faced imminent danger and he returned to Detroit to work for Lyle Fife at Fife Electric, a contact he made through a fellow University of Michigan golf teammate, Bob Fife.
After winning the Michigan Amateur at Gull Lake in 1950, Ben won the GAM Championship 3 times and qualified for 6 USGA Championships.
In 1971, he bought Fife Electric and he and his wife Ann lived in Birmingham until 1995, when he retired to Northern Michigan and his native Southwest Florida.
Elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 1990.