Hall Of Fame April Spotlight: Charles Whitehead, Maureen Orcutt, Nestor Macdonald
The NJSGA recently announced the formation of the NJSGA Hall of Fame. An induction ceremony is planned for May 1 at Galloping Hill Golf Course in Kenilworth. Over the past two months, inductees biographies have been featured every two weeks as part of our handicap revision EBulletins.
Below are the biographies of three distinguished inductees:
CHARLES WHITEHEAD (1913-1984)
Charles (Charley) Whitehead of Plainfield Country Club set a record that will likely never be broken. The tall, strong player with a remarkable putting touch won five consecutive State Amateur titles from 1938 through 1942 and a total of six.
Whitehead began winning early, taking the state high school championship while a student at Rutgers Prep in 1933. Three years later, he won his first State Amateur championship at Braidburn (now Brooklake). In 1937, he lost in the second round of the Amateur, but after that he was untouchable for five years as he reeled off 25 straight match-play wins, many by lopsided margin.
His final Amateur title, in 1942, came over a tough competitor, Billy Dear, 2 and 1, at Montclair. Just a month later, Whitehead managed to weave his way past a field comprised mainly of professionals to win the State Open at Yountakah in Nutley, distinguishing himself as the first amateur to win the Open. Whitehead shot 289 for 72 holes, three shots better than professional Vic Ghezzi of Deal, who had defeated Byron Nelson in a playoff for the PGA Championship the previous year.
Whitehead joined the armed services in September 1942, and following World War II he played no more serious competitive golf. His wife, the former Laddie Irwin, won the second of her three State Women’s Amateurs in 1941. He later became a club professional at Tamarack Golf Club in East Brunswick.
MAUREEN ORCUTT (1907-2007)
Maureen Orcutt, playing out of White Beeches Golf and Country Club in Haworth, is credited with 65 state and national victories including ten New Jersey Women’s Amateurs, ten Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association championships, seven Women’s Eastern match-play titles, five Metropolitan Seniors, three North and South Amateurs, two U.S. Seniors and two Canadian Amateurs. From 1932 to 1938, she played on the first four U.S. Curtis Cup teams, which never tasted defeat.
She was twice runner up for the United States Women’s Amateur title (1927 and 1936) and finished second in the White Beeches men’s club championship at the age of 17.
As a journalist, she covered women’s golf for The New York Journal, The New York Evening World, the North American Newspaper Alliance, Golf Illustrated, and The National Golf Review.
In 1969, she received the first Tanqueray Award for contributions to amateur sports. She was also elected to the New York Sports Hall of Fame.
NESTOR J. MACDONALD (1895-1991)
Nestor MacDonald was an original founder of the NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation and served as its chairman from 1957-1967. He was a member of Rock Spring Club as well as Baltusrol, a member of the Scottish Trust and a recipient of the British Royal Order of Merit.
He was born on the Isle of Skye in Scotland on December 15, 1895, and came to New York in 1896. He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force at the outbreak of the first World War. MacDonald became a fighter pilot in England and was shot down. He survived the crash, but suffered multiple injuries, winning an Air Force Cross and attaining the rank of Flight Lieutenant.
In 1920, he joined the New York firm of Thomas and Betts which produces electric connectors and accessories. Starting as a salesman, he rose to company president (1955), CEO (1960), and Board Chairman (1965). He is remembered as one of the great benefactors in New Jersey golf history, and today a full four-year scholarship to Rutgers University is named in his honor.