The 117th Annual Meeting of the New Jersey State Golf Association took place on Thursday, October 6, at Manasquan River Golf Club in Brielle.

“We are proud of our initiatives of the Caddie Scholarship Foundation and Youth Foundation as we continue to honor our commitments to young people,” said NJSGA president Daniel M. Meehan.

He recognized former NJSGA president Ben Del Vento for winning the 2016 NJSGA/NJPGA Distinguished Service Award and the late Phillips Babcock on winning the Honey Gantner Award for his efforts as a long-time NJSGA volunteer and treasurer.

Roddy McRae and Lisa Lifer were added as new board members as Mike McFadden and Coleen Luker stepped down.

“I would like to thank our volunteers with whom we could not conduct our large number of events. They are a vital part of our organization. All we do at NJSGA is made possible by our excellent staff, led by executive director Kevin Purcell.

“I would like to thank our executive committee who help us with the challenges of the golf environment here in New Jersey and across the country. I would like to thank my predecessor, Frank O’Brien, for his guidance during my first year as president,” Meehan said.

Chris Bauer, executive director of the New Jersey section of the PGA, commented on the state of golf in New Jersey.

“We are focusing on our future and proud of all of the work of the associations. We enjoy the collaboration of the NJSGA and allied associations in continuing to work together in years to come.”

Meehan furthered that comment: “We do have an excellent relationship with the New Jersey PGA and all of our allied associations in the state.”

Steve Hennesey provided the Treasurer’s Report: “The year 2015 resulted in a moderate surplus and in 2016, we are progressing nicely. Each year we have a total of 4,000 golfers competing here in our state tournaments and in our Member Golf Days. Our balance sheet shows a respectable reserve which can be used for investments and technology.”

Vice president Bill Frese gave the Partnership Committee Report: “Valuable relationships with several companies allowed us to expand our member benefits. We have plenty of opportunities for sponsors in our print and media and signage at events. We are in the process of renewing current partnerships and seeking new partners.

“We had a schedule of 12 Member Golf Days with up to 1,350 golfers taking part. We conducted our second Ultimate Team Challenge at Upper Montclair and it was very successful. We added the Beat Scratch Challenge to public course golfers. We have a nice relationship with the South Jersey Golf Association with more golfers from North Jersey taking part in their events at reasonable rates.

“We had 460 of our members volunteer at the PGA Championship at Baltusrol. We have a variety of discounts and specials as member benefits,” Frese said.

Secretary Eric Houseknecht noted in the Tournament Committee Report that the 2017 Amateur Championship will take place at Tavistock Country Club in Haddonfield and the 2017 Open Championship at Metedeconk National in Jackson.

“We couldn’t be happier in our relationship with women’s golf in New Jersey. The NJSGA has always embraced women’s golf,” said Meehan upon introducing Kathy Carter for the Women’s Committee Report.

“The 2016 season was a great success, conducting outstanding tournaments at outstanding venues. We are happy to announce the 2017 Women’s Amateur and Mid-Amateur will take place at Somerset Hills, next August,” Ms. Carter said.

Mike McFadden supplied the Youth Foundation report: “Our mission is to provide grants in the range of $3,000 to $6,000 to deserving youth groups. We have donated $175,000 over the past six or seven years. We will have a Pro-Am next year at Metedeconk National.”

Ed Batta, vice chairman, spoke on the Caddie Scholarship Foundation: “Our Caddie Scholarship program has been and continues to be the main charitable focus of the NJSGA since the program’s inception in 1947.

“Starting with two $500 scholarships at Rutgers University, we now have funded nearly 2,700 caddie scholars with $12,715,000 in the past 70 years. For the current academic year we are funding 176 young men and women from 43 member clubs with $776,748 in tuition grants.

“We awarded 54 special named scholarships and 91 students have earned the extra $300 bonus academic achievement awards. Of those applying, 94 percent received scholarships. None of this, however, would be possible without the support of the member clubs and their commitment to keep the caddie in golf. This year, we had two recipients of the Western Golf Association Chick Evans Scholarships and thanks to the efforts of (former NJSGA president) Tom Paluck we will be getting a third this year.”

As winner of the Distinguished Service Award, Del Vento, who continues to assist Batta as vice chairman of the Caddie Scholarship Foundation , was happy to receive the honor.

“Be proud that the NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation is the finest in the country and we pledge all of our efforts in ensuring that tradition will always be carried on. You have our guarantee,” Del Vento said.

Frank O’Brien of the Nominating Committee introduced the Board Members Class of 2019: Steve Hennesey (Ridgewood), Bill Frese (Montclair), John Delaney (Essex County), Dan Meehan (Spring Brook, Manasquan River), Lisa Lifer (EWGA-North Jersey). Rod McRae (Baltusrol) is filling the unexpired term of Class of 2017.

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