(L-R) Outgoing President Eric Houseknecht, Newly Appointed President Michael McFadden

GLADSTONE, N.J. – On October 7, 2021, the New Jersey State Golf Association conducted its 122nd Annual Meeting held at Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Gladstone, New Jersey. The NJSGA wrapped up another successful year as an organization.

“2021 has been another successful year for the Association and golf in general in the state of New Jersey,” stated President Eric Houseknecht. “We continue to experience substantial growth in numerous key areas.”

Under Houseknecht’s leadership, the NJSGA continued to thrive seeing an expansion in all aspects of the organization. Most notably, active membership for primary handicaps has increased by 8% from the previous year. Additionally, through the membership services the NJSGA provides such as member golf days, championships, NJ Golf magazine, over 67,000 golfers are reached.

So far, NJSGA has conducted 23 of its 25 championships, with the final two scheduled for the end of October. Additionally, the Association hosted six USGA qualifiers, highlighted by its first-ever U.S. Amateur qualifier.

Watch the entire meeting HERE

The inaugural Women’s Golf Day served as a milestone for the NJSGA, which was conducted at Spring Brook Country Club on June 14, 2021, receiving outstanding feedback from the sold-out event. The final Women’s Golf Day of 2021 will be held on October 18 at Hawk Pointe Golf Club.

Also highlighted at the meeting was NJSGA’s continued valuable partnerships with Provident Bank and NJM Insurance Group, Donnelly Construction, Donnelly Energy, McRae Capital Management and Lincoln Motor Company.

“We are extremely grateful for all of our partners and their continued support,” expressed Houseknecht. “Not only their financial support, but their shared interests on the success of our association and charitable foundations. They’ve become a key aspect of our growth and they are true partners in that respect, for which they deserve our sincere thanks.”

The Youth Foundation and Caddie Scholarship Foundation continue to thrive. The Youth Foundation continues to provide grants to youth groups in need around the state of New Jersey. Led by chairman Frank O’Brien, the Pro-Am and raffle was a success, setting an all-time high of raffle tickets sold. The Caddie Scholarship Foundation has raised an impressive $993,000, falling just short of its 2021 goal of $1M. Leading up to its 75th Anniversary in 2022, the Caddie Scholarship Foundation has awarded $667,000 in scholarships to 157 caddie scholars. NJSGA caddie scholars maintain not only a 96% graduation rate, but an impressive 3.4 GPA.

As usual, course ratings continue to be successful despite weather and pandemic obstacles, having completed 25 ratings so far, with more scheduled throughout November. Five captains lead the team, which features nine experienced raters with more raters working their way up through training.

Coleen Luker, the first female NJSGA board member was honored with the Honey Gantner award, which is given each year to an individual who dedicates their time with exemplary commitment, service and contributions to the NJSGA. In 1978, Luker joined the Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association and served on the board of the Garden State Women’s Golf Association. Additionally, from 1998-2002 she served as the Junior Amateur Tournament Golf Director for the New Jersey State Women’s Golf Committee, which merged with the NJSGA in 2008.  

“Honey was one of those people who took a liking to me. I don’t know why, but she watched over me her whole life,” Luker said. “She always knew what I was up to, she always encouraged me, always knew my good golf scores and never paid attention to the bad ones. When the women’s committee joined the NJSGA, it was great for me to reconnect with her late in life and spend time with her before she got sick. I will never forget her because of how she made me feel. I will also never forget my time with the NJSGA because all of the help I got from everyone and how much I enjoyed it. She loved this organization and I do too.”

Carol Graybeal, Mike McFadden, Walter Sartorius and Brian Hunt were re-elected to the board as trustees in the Class of 2024, and Valerie DePiro is the newest member of the board, also elected as part of the Class of 2024.

Outgoing board member Kevin Casey, who has served on the board since 2015, has been instrumental to the success of the communications area of the organization. He is set to transition into the advisory Committee of Past Board Members.  

The annual meeting concluded with announcement of officers were appointed new positions, with Michael McFadden proceeding Houseknecht as President, Rod McRae as Vice President, Mark Anania as Treasurer and Lisa Lifer as Secretary.  

McFadden joined the board of trustees in 2007, before taking a short hiatus in 2016 to focus on his career. Following his return in 2019, McFadden has served as a trustee of the Caddie Scholarship Foundation, Treasurer, a member of tournament committee and an advisor on policies for course ratings operations. Additionally, McFadden has provided assistance not only with staff reorganization, but with all financial aspects of the organization.

“Mike’s dedication and commitment to the association and its two charitable foundations has been exemplary,” said Houseknecht. “I’m fully confident that he will diligently serve his term as president and continue the growth of the association under his leadership.”

“I’m very humble to be the President, expressed newly appointed President Michael McFadden. “I look around the room and know everything will go well because of the quality of people in the organization. Not just the past presidents but the guidance and many of them. This is a great organization, with a lot of history but it’s really about the people. I’m excited, I’m going to do my best and work hard.”

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