In front of an overflow crowd of 250, the New Jersey State Golf Association, with 118 years of golf history behind it, inducted the inaugural class of its NJSGA Hall of Fame on Wednesday evening, May 1.
The inaugural class boasts the most prominent names in that 118-year period including both famed players and those who have made a unique and lasting impact on the game of golf.
The event took place in the ballroom at Galloping Hill Golf Course in Kenilworth, home of the NJSGA. A special 15-minute historical video of the inductees was shown. Bob Wischusen, the voice of the New York Jets, served as masgter of ceremonies.
Among those honored were professionals Byron Nelson, Johnny Farrell and Vic Ghezzi, legendary amateurs Chet Sanok, Carolyn Cudone, Jerome Travers, Maureen Orcutt and Bob Housen and accomplished players Charlotte Glutting and Charles Whitehead.
Other inductees included renowned architect A.W. Tillinghast; famed African-American golf pioneer John Shippen; noted journalist Arthur (Red) Hoffman; Dr. Ralph Engel, founder of the Rutgers Turfgrass school , and benefactors Nestor J. MacDonald (founder of the NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation), and Billy Y. Dear (pioneering contributor to youth golf and caddie scholarship).
.“New Jersey has a tremendous heritage of golf and an association that ranks among the oldest in the United States. It was time for our greatest players and contributors to be recognized,” said Bill Frese, President of the NJSGA and Chairman of the NJSGA Hall of Fame Committee.
Bob Housen’s family and friends were there in earnest to celebrate the evening, numbering 15 family members.
Other families represented included three grandchildren of Johnny Farrell; two daughters of Red Hoffman; a daughter of Chet Sanok; and a grandson of Nestor MacDonald.
Also on hand were Ruby and Thurman Simmons of the John Shippen Foundation, and Dr. Bruce Clarke, representing the Rutgers University Turfgrass program and inductee Dr. Ralph Engel.
Multiple NJSGA champion Allan Small was the presenter for Bob Housen. In a special moment, NJSGA immediate past president (and member at Mansquan River Golf Club) Dan Meehan, announced that the NJSGA Player of the Year Award will be forever named the “Robert Housen Player of the Year Award.”
NJSGA HALL OF FAME AT-A-GLANCE
Carolyn Cudone (1918-2009), Montclair Golf Club
Won 10 N.J. Women’s Amateurs, five consecutive US. Senior Amateurs
William Y. Dear (1912-1986), Morris County G.C. & Essex County C.C.
Benefactor to youth golf, NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation
Dr. Ralph Engel (1915-1995)
Father of Rutgers University Turfgrass program
Johnny Farrell (1901-1988), Baltusrol Golf Club
Celebrated head pro at Baltusrol; U.S. Open, State Open among 22 pro victories
Vic Ghezzi (1910-1976), Deal Golf & Country Club
Won 1941 PGA championship, besting Byron Nelson; Won three State Opens
Charlotte Glutting (1910-1996), Rock Spring Club
Played on four Curtis Cup teams; Won four N.J. Women’s Amateurs
Arthur (Red) Hoffman (1918-2005), Plainfield Country Club
Worked for Newark Evening News and The Star-Ledger; dean of N.J. golf writers
Robert (Bob) Housen (1938-) Manasquan River Golf Club
State Amateur champion six times; won two Met Amateurs
Nestor J. MacDonald (1895-1991), Rock Spring Club
An original founder of the NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation
Byron Nelson (1912-2006), The Ridgewood Country Club
All-time great won five majors and 64 pro events; his first was the State Open in 1935
Maureen Orcutt (1907-2007), White Beeches Golf and Country Club
Won six N.J. Women’s Amateurs, 10 WMGA championships; selected to four Curtis Cup teams
Chester (Chet) Sanok (1919-1996), Upper Montclair Country Club
Won five State Amateurs, two State Opens; first of three amateurs to ever win Met Open
John Shippen (1879-1968), Shady Rest Golf Course
African-American/Native American was first American-born golf pro; played in 6 U.S. Opens
Jerome (Jerry) Travers (1887-1851), Montclair G.C.; Upper Montclair C.C.
Won U.S. Open in 1915, second amateur to do so; won four State Amateurs
Albert Warren (A.W.) Tillinghast (1876-1942), Architect
N.J. resident designed Baltusrol, Somerset Hills, Essex County, Ridgewood, many others
Charles (Charley) Whitehead (1913-1984), Plainfield Country Club
Won six State Amateurs in seven years; first amateur to win State Open in 1942