Photo (l-r) - 2019 Winter Tour Champions Mike Jeffries (Senior Net), Tim McKenna (Amateur Gross), Newton Colon (professional)
November 10, 2020 - Coming off a season that ended prematurely, the John Caliendo Winter Tour is poised for an exciting future.
After the 2019-20 season ended abruptly following the March 12 event at Concordia Golf Club in Monroe, the remaining two regular-season events were cancelled and the championship was postponed. On Nov. 3, last season’s finale was finally held at Rumson Country Club. Two days, later, the 2020-21 season officially kicked off at Heron Glen Golf Course in Ringoes.
“We have a full slate of 23 events, mostly on Thursdays through the winter. The championship is scheduled for April 1 – tentatively at Forsgate Country Club,” said Mark McCabe, who is in his third season as tournament director.
“We‘re looking forward to the 2020-21 season. We’ve added two new venues, Cobblestone Creek Country Club in Lawrence Township on Nov. 19 and Peddie Golf Club in Hightstown on March 4. We also will be conducting the Winter Classic for the second time on Feb. 17-18 at Linwood Country Club.
McCabe and the league’s board instituted a number of measures to ensure safety from the ongoing health crisis. The use of technology has been at the forefront of these initiatives.
“The biggest changes for us is that all registration is done online, and scoring is done through the Golf Genius app. There will no longer be face-to-face registration,” McCabe added.
Another change is the elimination of shotgun starts for social distancing purposes. Tee times now will run from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. off both the first and 10th tees at each course.
Tim Macken of Knoll Country Club returns as president with Pete Busch of Galloping Hill Golf Course serving as vice president and Baker Maddera of Ash Brook Golf Course as treasurer.
The overall champions for 2019-20 were Lou Fulgoni of Howell Park Golf Course (Amateur Gross), Brendan Walsh of Hominy Hill Golf Course (Amateur Net), Bo Henning of Howell Park (Senior Net), and Joe Bush of Shackamaxon Country Club (Professional).
In the Winter Tour Championship on Nov. 3, Tim McKenna of Hominy Hill carded a 73, five shots better than Fulgoni, for the amateur gross title. John Capra of Stanton Ridge Golf and Country Club registered a net 70, three shots better than Anthony Fioretti of Ballyowen Golf Club for the amateur net title.
Senior net went to Mike Jeffries of Duffers Golf Association with a net 77 while Al Padavano of Yardley (Pa.) Country Club earned the Senior Gross title with an 80.
Among professionals, Newton Colon shot 77 and defeated Joe Galan of Alpine Country Club (also at 77) in a playoff.
Each event offers 112 playing spots for a total membership of 154 golfers. That is down slightly from last year’s 165 players. “Some guys moved and some retired,” McCabe noted.
“Unless the Governor orders a shutdown due to the pandemic, we see weather as the biggest obstacle. Some meteorologists are predicting a snowy winter. We had zero cancellations during the time we played last year, so we’ll see what his winter has in store for us,” McCabe stated.
Longtime participant Mike Paduano of Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club is playing in his 28th season in the Caliendo Winter Tour.
“In the wintertime it’s nice to get outside and play golf with some good friends I’ve made over the years,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun and I enjoy the camaraderie. It’s a great New Jersey thing. I can’t think of another cold-weather state that has anything like this,” Paduano said.
“We get to play some unique places, anywhere from a private club like Rumson to many outstanding municipal courses,” he said.