Bob Ross, the head golf professional at historic Baltusrol Golf Club (1976-96) and later director of golf at Hawk Pointe Golf Club, is the 2017 recipient of the NJPGA/NJSGA New Jersey Golf Distinguished Service Award.
The Distinguished Service Award is presented annually by the NJPGA in collaboration with the NJSGA to honor an individual who has provided exemplary service and contributions to growing the game of golf in New Jersey, consistent with the honor, values and traditions of the game.
The award was presented at the annual NJPGA/NJSGA Celebration of Golf, which took place on Oct. 26 at newly renovated Glen Ridge Country Club.
Among the other highlights of the event was the installation of Lloyd Monroe and Brent Studer into the New Jersey PGA Hall of Fame.
Top awards for the NJSGA were the recognition of the NJSGA Players of the Year: Luke Graboyes of Watchung Valley (Men’s), Tara Fleming of New Jersey National (Women’s) and Bill Charpek of Navesink and Jay Blumenfeld of Mountain Ridge (Co-Senior Men’s). While Charpek and Blumenfeld did not have exactly the same point totals, both were honored due to their outstanding season-long play.
John Rochford of Echo Lake was recognized as recipient of the annual Honey Gantner Award as the NJSGA’s Top Volunteer.
Also, Manasquan River Golf Club in Brielle was named recipient of the NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation Club of the Year for 2017, based on 2016 contributions. Donors included 422 Par Club members who contributed at least $100 each, as the club raised $43,795 for the NJSGA CSF.
MRGC Caddie Scholars are Nicholas Baretta (NJIT, $6,000 annual award), Joseph D’Agostaro (Virginia Tech, $3,800) and John Devereux (Rider, $3,500).
NJSGA and NJPGA individual champions were also recognized in a slide show at the Celebration of Golf.
Graboyes, a recent graduate of Cornell University, won the State Open at Metedeconk National. Other highlights included sixth place in the State Amateur and a tie for 13th place at the MGA Ike Championship.
Fleming won her second NJSGA Women’s Mid-Amateur at Somerset Hills. She capped her summer by reaching the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur. She also captained the NJSGA team to a tie for 10th place at the U.S. State Team Championship and reached the quarterfinals of match-play at the NJSGA Women’s Amateur.
Charpek, who won his second NJSGA Senior Amateur title in three years, started the season by finishing as low amateur at the NJPGA/NJSGA Senior Open at Navesink. He won the State Senior Amateur championship by six shots, and later qualified for the U.S. Senior Amateur.
Highlights for Blumenfeld, who also won the Senior POY in 2016 and 2014, were a third place finish at the Met Senior Amateur and seventh place in the NJSGA Senior Amateur. He was also runner-up in the Senior Division of the Nassau Invitational and a semifinalist in the Travis Memorial.
While at Baltusrol (1976-96), Ross oversaw the playing of two U.S. Opens (1980 and 1993) and multiple area championships for organizations such as the NJSGA and NJPGA.
In 1980, Ross was the first host professional to qualify in two decades for the U.S. Open Championship when he did it at Baltusrol, although he failed to make the cut at 76-78. To qualify for the event, he shot 144.
Ross was an accomplished player, winning events such as the New Jersey Senior Open, the Pennsylvania Open, and Philadelphia PGA Section Championship. His play also enabled him to compete in six PGA/USGA National Championships and eight PGA/USGA Senior national championships. He was also runner-up to Tom Ulozas in the 1978 State Open.
Monroe, a former club professional at Spring Brook Country Club in 1968-71 and teaching professional at Upper Montclair Country Club from 1973-79, was a winner of the Dodge Open in 1974 and 1978, as well as the Toyota Open in 1977.
“I had a good history of the Dodge [now the Charity Clambake], because I was a member as a kid.” Monroe said. “I was the club champion in 1958 and when I won in 1974 it was very satisfying. I still play once a week and go into it with the same enthusiasm as I did in the ‘60s and ‘70s.”
Monroe, 78, was a runner-up at the 1976 Met Open and competed in five U.S. Opens, two U.S. Senior Opens, two PGA Championships, and two Senior PGA Championships.
Studer, a 1994 U.S. Open and 2015 U.S. Senior Open participant, is a multiple New Jersey Section major winner, with victories including the 1998, 2008 and 2015 New Jersey PGA Championship and 2003 and 2014 Charity Clambake.
“I never specifically had the Hall of Fame as a goal,” Studer said. “I look at that more as a lifelong accomplishment, something that came as a result of working hard.”
The 2003 NJPGA Player of the Year has also received several honors outside of his competitive game, including the 1999 Golf Professional of the Year and 2003 and 2012 Private Merchandiser of the Year. Studer, 52, spent more than 20 years at Manasquan River Country Club and currently serves as the Director of Golf at Metedeconk National Golf Club. He is a two-time runner-up at the NJSGA State Open.