Photo (L-R) - Eric Houseknecht, Walton Clark, Frank O'Brien
July 16, 2020 - The 26th annual New Jersey State Golf Association Youth Foundation Pro-Am, played in advance of the NJSGA 100th Open Championship, took place on Thursday, July 16, at renowned Knickerbocker Country Club in Tenafly.
Each year, the Pro-Am acts as the primary fundraiser for the NJSGA Youth Foundation, raising funds through event entry fees and the sale of raffle tickets. This year’s top prize is a trip to Colonial Williamsburg for two nights and four rounds of golf for four.
Second prize is a set of Callaway Mavrik Irons, while third prize is a foursome for play at Ridgewood Country Club, Plainfield Country Club, Somerset Hills Country Club and Canoe Brook Country Club. The drawing will take place on August 19 at Knickerbocker.
Each year, the club hosting the Open Championship designates a charity of its choice as the recipient of a Youth Foundation grant. This year, the NJSGA Youth Foundation presented a check of $5,000 to the Center for Food Action in Englewood, Knickerbocker C.C.’s designated charity.
During the current pandemic, from March 25 through June 30, the CFA served 37,719 adults and children in northern New Jersey, including Bergen and Passaic counties. Each week, the CFA serves an average of 1,000 households. CFA’s pandemic response teams distribute food purchases containing approximately $70 worth of food, including frozen meat, fresh milk, eggs, fruits and vegetables.
“This is the 42nd year of the Center for Food Action, and we truly appreciate what the NJSGA is doing for us with this grant,” said Walton Clark, a CFA board member who is also a member at Knickerbocker.
“A lot of people here at Knickerbocker support us. Kids at summer camp collected food for us last year and each year we conduct a fund-raising golf outing.” Clark said. “We’re still looking to donate food, and we realize that (for many) the extra $600 of unemployment ends at the end of the month. People can reach out to us on our website (www.cfanj.org) or by calling us at 201-281-2315.”
Said NJSGA president Eric Houseknecht: “Our charitable foundations are really the most important aspect of our entire operation. The Youth Foundation provides much needed financial support to a variety of youth-related charities throughout the entire state. It is particularly important this year given the economic impact of the pandemic.
“The NJSGA is proud to support the selected charity of the hot venue, the Center for Food Action, and the important work they are doing.”
In the past year, the NJSGA Youth Foundation donated $42,000 to 10 selected charities.
“We at the Youth Foundation were so inspired by the Center for Food Action and the work they do, particularly in these difficult times,” said Frank O’Brien, former NJSGA president and chairman of the Youth Foundation.
“The Youth Foundation Pro-Am is an opportunity to bring together the local golf community to support a wonderful cause, the NJSGA Youth Foundation. Over the years, we’re proud to have provided financial assistance to deserving youth groups which has assisted them in conducting their programs at a level of excellence,” O’Brien stated.
A total of 23 teams, consisting of one professional and three amateurs, participated in the Pro-Am at one of the top venues in the state. In addition, NJSGA partners Lincoln Motor Company, NJM Insurance and Provident Bank all had on-course displays and donated prizes and giveaways.
The Youth Foundation Pro-Am is a four-player team event with Best-Ball-of-Four, net scoring, along with an individual Professionals’ competition. Teams were comprised of three amateurs and one professional.
The Knickerbocker foursome of professional Bill Hook, and amateurs Jack Chimento, Michael Galianos and Chris Minnetian carded a 14-under-par 58 to win team honors. Hook fired a round of five-under-par 67 to lead the way and take low pro honors. “It was a team effort. It was all these guys,” said Hook, who tied his career low round at Knickerbocker “This will be a confidence booster going into the Open Championship on Monday.”
The 2020 NJSGA Youth Foundation Pro-Am will be held next summer at Spring Brook Country Club in Morristown, in advance of the 101st NJSGA Open Championship there.