PHOTO: NJ Corporate Challenge winning team from Magyar Bank. From left, Magyar Bank president John Fitzgerald, Tom Lankey, NJSGA president Bill Frese, Provident Bank president Chris Martin, John Reissner and Andy Hodulik
The NJSGA’s first annual New Jersey Corporate Golf Challenge presented by Provident Bank took place on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the prestigious Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster and the response could not have been better.
Teams from across the state competed in the one-day event over the New Course at Trump National, the same course that hosted the NJSGA Amateur Championship in 2011. The event is expected to grow over the coming years as more NJ companies learn about its mission.
The event was open to teams representing New Jersey-based companies from any business sector. Each team consisted of four amateur players, with verifiable handicap indexes, and a team handicap limit not to exceed 60.
“The Corporate Golf Challenge is all about making the contributions to the NJSGA’s charitable activities,” said Vincent Dalessandro, regional president of OceanFirst Bank. “Our foundation contributes $3 million per year to charities.
“There are a lot of passionate golfers among our customers and we support the youth aspect that goes into golf. It’s great to the see money here flow to the kids through the Caddie Scholarship Foundation and the Youth Foundation.
“We play in a lot of smaller golf outings during the year and this one peaked our attention because of its competitive nature. Also, the opportunity to play this golf course was important. We were attended to very well.
“A really nice touch was opportunity to personalize your pullover (player gift) from six or seven choices and have it mailed to your home,” Dalessandro said.
Beyond the opportunity to play one of the finest golf courses in the state under tournament conditions, each team’s entry into the event included VIP gift bags with products from Turtleson Apparel, Club Glove, and Imperial Headwear, a lavish brunch before play, on-course snacks and refreshments, a corporate networking cocktail reception after play, followed by sit-down dinner and awards program.
In addition to awards, the top three placing teams were presented crystal glassware from Sterling Cut Glass. Lincoln Motor Company and Provident Bank sponsored par-3 contests with giveaways and prizes to help enhance the enjoyment of the golf experience for all players.
To identify New Jersey’s top performing company on the links, the NJSGA developed an individual and team handicap formula that required captains of industry to stop and think about the makeup of their team.
While any golfer with a GHIN handicap was able to participate in the event, the maximum number of strokes any one player could receive was 18, thus limiting a player to a maximum of one-shot per hole. Additionally, a maximum team handicap was set at 60, which represented the total of all four players’ handicap indexes at 100 percent. The player and team handicap requirements were designed to challenge a team’s strategic decision-making process before they even arrived on the first tee at Trump National Golf Club.
Part of the excitement of the Corporate Challenge was the strategy employed by the team captain in choosing the right combination of players. That was a key element in the Corporate Challenge.
“A lot of our clients are here. We do a lot of business with New Jersey banks,” said John Beckelman, principal of Sandler O’Neill Partners, L.P. “This place is great, the NJSGA staff is great and the conditions were great. This was better than most outings we see. We were really treated well.”
Said Gary Pancoast, senior managing director of Peapack-Gladstone Bank: “It was a very enjoyable event from the whole setting, the amenities and the course. The list goes on and on. It’s a good way to support what’s going on with the state’s bankers.”
John Babcock, president of Peapack-Gladstone Bank’s private wealth management division, won the closest-to-the-pin prize. He is involved with the NJSGA as a Caddie Scholarship Foundation representative at the Morris County Golf Club. His father, Phillips Babcock, won the NJSGA’s Honey Gantner Award as top volunteer in 2016.
“This is a great way to let these businesses now about the NJSGA foundations,” he said.
“The NJSGA did a nice job. I think the Corporate Challenge I a great idea,” said Jim Brown, senior vice president of Investors Bank. “Counting all four balls is tough.”
Donnelly Energy, a division of long-time NJSGA partner Donnelly Construction, is an energy efficiency firm dedicated to helping utilities and business owners take advantage of incentives offered by New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program. It helps companies reduce their costs, reduce their carbon footprint, and increase profits.
“This location was the best of the 20 golf events we attended this summer,” said Karan Raina, vice president of Donnelly Energy. “It was a really well put-together event. We work with many golf clubs on their energy side and we think the NJSGA is a really good place for us to be involved.”
Said Anthony Sylvester of the law firm Sherman Wells Sylvester & Stamelman, LLP: “What I like is that the event is for a good cause and the format that leads to a trophy kind of reminds me of the Ryder Cup. Chris Martin of Provident Bank told us this is a charity we should support. The idea here is that it is a great thing that the charities are for young people. I also like that you don’t seen many golf events after Labor Day. I like the fact that the NJSGA kept things going into October.”
“The NJSGA staff was very helpful in looking up my GHIN handicap and in the offer to ship my pullover to my house. I also like that it’s a limited field. I plan on contributing to the NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation in honor of my father, who was a former caddie,” said Tom Denitzio of Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith and Davis LLP.
The second annual NJ Corporate Golf Challenge is planned for fall of 2019. To learn more about the event or enter a team, visit the competitions section of NJSGA.org and click on the Corporate Challenge tab.