Longtime volunteer, Steve Hennesey, who served admirably for almost a decade in several capacities for the New Jersey State Golf Association, is the 2020 recipient of the prestigious Honey Gantner Award. Presented annually to a NJSGA volunteer for exemplary service, Hennesey will be honored at the NJSGA’s 121st Annual Meeting on Thursday, October 8, at Galloping Hill Golf Course, home of the NJSGA.
Hennesey, a member of The Ridgewood Country Club, served as Secretary and Treasurer during his tenure on the NJSGA Executive Committee which began in 2011. In 2013, he was part of a three-person fundraising collaborative that helped steer more than $100,000 to the NJSGA’s Youth Foundation. In that effort, which was geared toward the six remaining founding clubs of the NJSGA, Hennesey worked alongside Tom McGovern and Steve Foehl – the president and executive director (respectively) at the time.
“Steve Hennesey is a perfect example of a volunteer who puts in countless hours behind the scenes. He worked diligently to ensure the financial well-being of our association, which is something that rarely receives recognition, but is as critical as anything we do,” said NJSGA President Eric Houseknecht.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have had the benefit of his accounting expertise for not only the years he served as Treasurer, but also the additional years he served on the Board of Trustees. Even now, we still consult with him frequently. He was truly one of the most outstanding volunteers of the past 10 years.”
A resident of Paramus, Hennesey follows previous Honey Gantner Award winners Paul Samanchik (2019), Dr. Albert Kuchler (2018), John Rochford (2017), Phillips Babcock (2016), Bernie Samons (2015), Bob Krueger (2014), and Vic Bacile (2013). Honey herself was the first recipient in 2012.
“Receiving the Honey Gantner award is a tremendous honor, especially when considering the person for whom the award is named. My volunteer work for the NJSGA has been extremely rewarding for me especially in making new friends, following a life-long interest in and passion for the game,” Hennesey noted. “Having spent eight years on the board, I have only the highest admiration for the eight Presidents (past and current), two Executive Directors and other board members with whom I have worked over the years.
“The NJSGA is one of the oldest golf associations in the country, and has excellent leadership for the foreseeable future.”
Hennesey has also served for nine years as a board member at Ridgewood Country Club, holding positions of president, treasurer and golf chairman. He is also a former president of the New Jersey Seniors Golf Association, and is a long-time rules official for the Metropolitan Golf Association Tournament Committee.
Professionally, Hennesey spent his entire business career with the international accounting firm of Arthur Andersen and Co., with a specialty in tax planning for international and closely held corporations.
Distinguished in his field, he is a former president of the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants, which currently boasts more than 13,000 members. He also served as a Member of Council for the American Institute of CPAs.
Steve grew up in Harrington Park, and graduated from at St. Cecilia’s High School in Englewood. He received an accounting degree from St. Peter’s University in Jersey City.
He vividly remembers his first golf experience at age 11, when his uncle took him to a local driving range. “I can remember the ball flight as if it happened yesterday. I was hooked for the rest of my life.”
During high school, he caddied at White Beeches Golf and Country Club in Haworth. Following college, Hennesey was commissioned as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army and later was assigned to the U.S. Army Reserve for 10 years.
On the golf course, he is proud to admit he “broke his age” shooting a 77 at age 79. Another highlight was winning the Senior Club Championship at Ridgewood in an eight-hole playoff. He has also enjoyed golf trips with friends to Ireland, Scotland, Holland, France, Spain, Portugal and England.
“The game has provided me with the opportunity to develop and maintain great friendships over many years,” he observed. “My life could not have been better during these volunteer years due primarily to my wonderful wife Charlene, my children Luisa and Stephen, and my grandchildren, Melissa, Christopher and Sabrina.”