PHOTO: NJSGA Board of Trustees. Front row, treasurer John Delaney, vice president Eric Houseknecht, president William Frese, secretary Brian Hunt.  Standing, from left, Kevin Casey, Walter Sartorius, Steve Hennesey, Carol Graybeal, Frank O'Brien, David Cronheim, John Murray, Dan Meehan, Rod McRae III.

This past year was one of significant achievements, both for the organization and for several individuals. 

That was the theme of the New Jersey State Golf Association’s 119th Annual Meeting, conducted on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at the Essex County Country Club in West Orange.

Among the highlights of 2018 for the NJSGA was the selection of the organization as one of 59 Allied Golf Associations from around the country to partner with the USGA.

Other highlights included the installation of a new NJSGA Hall of Fame, a new magazine and redesigned website, the success of the Caddie Scholarship Foundation and the Youth Foundation, the increase in the number of handicaps, a successful tournament and Member Golf Day season and the addition of several new sponsors.

In addition, Carol Graybeal, Michael McFadden and Walter Sartorius were added to the Board of Trustees, replacing outgoing members Kathy Carter, Rod Donnelly and Tom McGovern.

President William E. Frese began the meeting by announcing three major individual awards that have been bestowed on prominent NJSGA members.

  • Former president Jay S. MacNeill is the recipient of the prestigious NJPGA/NJSGA Distinguished Service Award and will receive the award at the Celebration of Golf on Oct. 25 at the Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit.
  • Ed Batta, who directed the Caddie Scholarship Foundation from 1981 to 2017, will be inducted into the Caddie Hall of Fame at the Celebration of Golf.
  • Dr. Albert Kuchler is the recipient of the Honey Gantner Award, which recognizes the NJSGA’s top volunteer. He will receive the award next spring.

“I would like to add an unsung hero award to our staff, led by executive director Kevin Purcell and his team of incredibly hard workers, and also our tournament committee volunteers. I can’t begin to tell you how hard all of these folks have worked this summer under trying weather conditions to get in all of our tournaments and events, more than 50 in all,” Frese said.

Frese said the partnering with the USGA started the year on a high note.

“We were selected to carry out the USGA mission of expanding the game and enhancing the golfer experience. In this role, we will continue to serve as the USGA’s primary partner in New Jersey for its services such as handicaps, course ratings and USGA qualifiers.

“In addition, we’ll serve as local experts for education on topics such as the new rules of golf, which we plan to roll out with the USGA via training seminars this fall,” Frese said.

The Hall of Fame inducted 16 individuals in its inaugural class and this spring will again conduct an induction ceremony.

The president announced a successful year for the Caddie Scholarship Foundation, which awarded 150 scholarships and named Bill King, a New Jersey PGA Hall of Famer and former Caddie Scholar, as director of the CSF.

Frese was pleased with the progress in NJSGA communications.

“Our board recognized that effective communications with our members and member clubs is one of the keys to our continued success and two of our most successful initiatives this year targeted that goal by making significant improvements to our magazine and website,” he said.

The magazine, renamed “New Jersey Golf,” is now published and distributed by Golfweek. The quality of the publication has improved and the NJSGA has received much positive feedback from readers, Frese stated.

A redesigned website was unveiled two weeks ago, one which is very user friendly and will improve the association’s ability to communicate with members and clubs.

New staff members King and Lexie Guzy, Manager of Internal Operations and Course Ratings, were introduced to the attendees by Frese.

“I would like to add that our course raters were also challenged by the weather. They were only able to complete 18 of the 28 ratings that were scheduled,” the president said.

Frese thanked NJSGA partners NJM Insurance Group, Provident Bank, Lincoln Motor Company, St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Donnelly Construction and McRae Capital Management for their assistance.

“Their support of the NJSGA and the game of golf in New Jersey has been and always will be critical to our success and we hope that our relationships with them continue to thrive in the coming years,” he said.

Besides a full tournament schedule, the NJSGA conducted 13 Member Golf Days and a fully-subscribed Ultimate Team Event at Hamilton Farm Golf Club.

“The bottom line is we’re offering our members a number of great opportunities to play golf and they are taking advantage of them,” Frese said.

Brian Hunt offered a report on the Caddie Scholarship Foundation, noting that 150 caddies received awards and are attending 88 colleges around the country. More than $800,000 was donated to the CSF by 42 members clubs. In the 2018-19 school year, $656,000 went to scholarships. The top donating clubs for the past year were Baltusrol Golf Club ($64,000), Echo Lake Country Club ($51,000), and Upper Montclair Country Club ($48,000). The top Par Clubs, with members donating at least $100, were Echo Lake (479 members donating), Upper Montclair (458) and Manasquan River Golf Club (426). 

The Youth Foundation report was delivered by chairman Frank O’Brien, who said that the foundation donated $35,000 to various youth-related charities this year.

“We were determined to create a partnership with a worthy youth group and we have found the right partners in the ARC of Essex County and the ARC of Union County. We’ve developed a relationship with them to last minimally three years,” O’Brien said. “A total of $80,000 has been set aside for them.”

This year, $40,000 was donated for ARC summer camp teachers and program expansion. In each of the next two years, an additional $10,000 per year will be provided to each.

 “We feel this is the right way to go,” O’Brien said.
 

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