Edward J. Batta, the long-time chairman of the New Jersey State Golf Association Caddie Scholarship Foundation and former NJSGA president, passed away on July 18 at the age of 82.
Batta, a longtime member of the Essex Fells Country Club and a resident of Roseland, dedicated himself to the NJSGA’s Caddie Scholarship Foundation as chairman for 35 years, and was responsible for raising more than $9 million and providing more than 2,500 New Jersey caddies with tuition grants during that time. He retired from the foundation’s presidency in December of 2016.
This past October, Batta was inducted into the Caddie Hall of Fame as a caddie administrator, citing his dedication to caddies and caddie programs which bettered the lives of many.
“Ed was a wonderful friend to everyone associated with golf in New Jersey. He worked tirelessly to help young men and women achieve their goal of a college education. I know that I speak on behalf of everyone, particularly those who benefitted from the Caddie Scholarship Foundation, when I say how much he will be missed,” said NJSGA president Bill Frese.
In 2011, Batta, who served as NJSGA president in 1996 and ‘97, received the prestigious NJPGA/NJSGA Distinguished Service Award. That award honors exemplary volunteer service to golf in New Jersey consistent with the values, honor and traditions of the game.
Ben Del Vento succeeded him as chairman of the Foundation.
“I had the honor and privilege of working side by side with Eddie. For 35 years, I was vice chairman of our foundation and I saw, on a daily basis, the dedication and passion that he had for the Caddie Scholarship Foundation program. He was a leader in promoting and growing the foundation; in the early days, only several scholarships were awarded each year. Now, we award over 150 scholarships each year,” Del Vento said.
“Because of his leadership, the Caddie Scholarship Foundation became one of the finest in the country. He has left a legacy in our state for the continuation and recognition that education is the most precious gift. He was truly inspirational in his love for the game, and for keeping caddieing as part of this wonderful game,” Del Vento stated.
In 2019, the New Jersey State Golf Association and the Caddie Scholarship Foundation announced the inaugural Edward J. Batta Caddie Scholarship. Batta Caddie Scholars will be awarded $10,000 per year to the college of their choice.
“We are happy to present the Batta Scholarship in honor of Ed’s many years of dedicated service to help New Jersey Caddie Scholars to offset the cost of a college education. Ed was a mentor to many of the staff and volunteers of the NJSGA,” said Bill King, Director of the Caddie Scholarship Foundation and a proud Caddie Scholar Alumni.
Added NJSGA Executive Director Kevin Purcell: “His leadership and friendship made working and volunteering with the NJSGA a joy for many of us. The commitment he lived each and every day to the caddies of our member clubs will forever be his hallmark. Ed was a humble man who always downplayed his contributions. He volunteered the better part of his life to the idea that the caddie is an important part of our game and therefore should be supported and honored with the opportunity of education,” Purcell said.
When Batta retired from leading the foundation two years ago, he expressed his sentiments. “My role with the Caddie Scholarship Foundation can best be described as an ‘enthusiastic caretaker.’ The real visionaries were the founders, Dr. Stephen Lee of Canoe Brook and the legendary Nestor J. MacDonald of Rock Spring,” Batta said at the time.
“Our golf championships touch relatively few at most of our member clubs, but the CSF touches everyone. It has also afforded me the opportunity to put back a little into a game that has given me so much in my life, my career and my well-being. My most enduring friendships were made possible through golf; it is truly a game for life,” Batta said.
Batta became a caddie at age 14 at the Essex Fells Country Club, then worked on the green staff during high school and college. He also caddied at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., during his time as a student at Villanova University.
He joined Essex Fells Country Club in 1966 and two years ago was granted an honorary membership. Batta played to a four handicap at one point and twice played on the winning team in the NJSGA Best-Ball-of-Four Championship, first in 1971 and again in 1989.
After graduating from Villanova with a degree in chemistry and biology, Batta served in the U.S. Army, then worked for Ayers Laboratories, and eventually for Union Carbide, rising to national sales manager. He also worked for the Niagara Blower Co. as director of sales.
Later, in 1987, Batta and two friends from Essex Fells Country Club purchased Plastinetics, a plastics fabricator and maker of large pipe fittings based in Towaco, N.J. Batta retired after reaching the position of chief executive officer. He also served on the board of directors of Annin & Co., the world’s largest maker of flags.
Ed and his late wife, Virginia, were married for 57 years before she passed away in May of 2017. Ed has three daughters, Susan, Lauren and Virginia, and a son, Steven, also a former caddie.
An obituary and funeral arrangements can be accessed by clicking here.