Pictured: Frank O'Brien with his family
SUMMIT, N.J. – The 18th NJPGA/NJSGA Celebration of Golf was a night filled with honoring and commemorating the best of the best in the Garden State.
Several NJSGA awards were recognized throughout the night, including the Men’s, Women’s and Senior Player of the Year Award, the Caddie Scholarship Foundation Club of the Year, the Honey Gantner Award and the Distinguished Service Award.
The prestigious Player of the Year awards are presented annually to an amateur in each division who compiles the most outstanding playing record based on a system in which players earn points for strong finishes in designated events.
Frank O’Brien, the current Youth Foundation Chairman was presented with the Distinguished Service Award at Canoe Brook Country Club on Thursday.
"From day one, Frank was a mentor to me," said NJSGA President, Michael McFadden. "Frank would never do anything or ask anybody to do anything that he wouldn't do himself. That's the kind of person he is."
"This award is not about me, it's about the many, many people and volunteers from both the PGA and from the New Jersey State Golf Association who try to engage people to enjoy a sport they can play the rest of their lives," conveyed O'Brien. "I am one of many volunteers from the NJSGA who give their time to make golf a better opportunity for everybody in the state of New Jersey."
Read more about O’Brien’s contributions, here.
Mark Costanza was tabbed Robert Housen Men’s Player of the Year award after putting together yet another outstanding golf season. Finishing as low amateur in the 102nd Open Championship, Costanza also made another run in the 2022 U.S. Mid-Amateur championship, punching a ticket into the Round of 16 of match play a year after finishing as a finalist. He also put together a pair of top-5 finishes in MGA events including the MGA Open and Amateur. The honor marks the second time earning NJSGA Player of the Year.
Katherine Lu earned Women’s Player of the Year honors after capturing the 97th New Jersey Women’s Amateur Championship. The Michigan State University women’s golfer also won the 2020 Junior Girls’ Championship.
Morten Gotterup, 55, captured the Senior Player of the Year as a result of winning the 64th Senior Amateur Championship at Navesink Country Club. He also collected points in the Senior Four-Ball and Four-Ball Championships.
Canoe Brook Country Club was named NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Club of the Year. The Summit private club has consistently been among the top total contributors and a par club member for the foundation. Over the last 20 years, Canoe Brook has raised an impressive $783,675.00.
The NJPGA distributed their special awards on Thursday evening as well.
Honey Gantner Award: Carol Graybeal
Robert Housen Men’s Player of the Year: Mark Costanza, Hamilton Farm Golf Club
Women’s Player of the Year: Katie Lu, Cranbury Golf Club
Men’s Senior Player of the Year: Morten Gotterup, Rumson Country Club
NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Club of the Year: Canoe Brook Country Club
PGA Golf Professional of the Year: Michael Holiday, Upper Montclair Country Club
Assistant Golf Professional of the Year: Leah Nowicki, Ridgewood Country Club
Youth Player Development Award: Rylee Plitz, Eagle Ridge Golf Club
Salesperson of the Year: Joe Testa, Ping
Bill Strausbaugh Award: Michael Holiday, Upper Montclair Country Club
Teacher of the Year: Brian Dougherty, Hollywood Golf Club
Club of the Year: Liberty National Golf Club
Merchandiser of the Year (Public): Rylee Plitz, Eagle Ridge Golf Club
Merchandiser of the Year (Private): Chris Dymek, Manasquan River Golf Club
Player Development Award: Juliet Little
PGA Professional Development Award: Reed Lansinger, Canoe Brook Country Club
Patriot Award: Brian Mackey, North Jersey Country Club
NJPGA 41st Hall of Fame Inductee: Brian Gaffney, Essex Fells Country Club
NJPGA 42nd Hall of Fame Inductee: Bryan Jones, Black Oak Golf Club