The New Jersey area golf community mourns the loss of Peter Famiano, the long-time, beloved head professional at Crestmont Country Club, who passed away on March 28 after a dignified battle with a very aggressive cancer. Pete was known throughout the golf community as “the consummate golf professional” who dedicated his life to bettering the game in every way possible.
Pete grew up in Schenectady, NY and excelled as a junior golfer. He led his high school team to a state championship in 1960 and became the New York State junior champion in 1961. He went on to the University of Houston, where he was a member of the golf team.
After college, Pete served as an assistant at two New York clubs and then in 1973 was named head golf professional at Crestmont Country Club in West Orange. Pete served the members at Crestmont faithfully, along with his wife Beverly, from that time until the present. The members of Crestmont rewarded Pete and Beverly for their many years of dedicated service by naming them honorary members and by recently appointing Pete the director of golf.
Peter Famiano was a rare individual who was able to master every aspect of being a professional golfer while still finding time to serve the golf community as a humanitarian, mentor and promoter of the game. First and foremost, he tirelessly served the needs of the Crestmont members as a talented teacher and merchandiser.
He served the NJPGA as an officer and president and was instrumental in attracting and keeping sponsors like Lincoln to strengthen its stature. The NJPGA inducted him into the Hall of Fame in 2004 after giving him numerous other awards over the years.
He coached the Montclair State University golf team for more than 20 years. His four All-Americans there became head professionals. He was a trustee of the New Jersey State Golf Association Caddie Scholarship Program and co-founder of the Hook a Kid on Golf Caddie Program for inner-city youth.
In addition to all of these endeavors, Pete also remained an accomplished player throughout his career. He frequented the South African Tour in the winters and placed as high as 25thon its Order of Merit. He also won numerous tournaments locally, including two NJSGA Senior Open Championships and the 2002 MGA Senior Open, to name just a few.
Listing Peter Famiano’s accomplishments and awards does not do justice, however, to what he meant to the game of golf in New Jersey. If you were his player, his assistant, his member, his fellow professional or golf volunteer, you always wanted to know his take on an idea or situation. When Pete would give you that opinion, it would be thoughtful, direct and always with the best interests of the game in mind. He always took the time to get involved in any idea around golf that made things a little better, and he would always be willing to take a leadership role.
One of Pete’s greatest legacies to the game of golf will be the many young golfers he mentored and influenced throughout his career. He taught them about hard work, dedication, service to community and what it means to be a professional in whatever you choose to do in life. Many of these young golfers have become respected golf professionals themselves. I count myself as one of those young men who is a better person today for having worked for and with Pete throughout his career.
Pete continued to teach us even as he waged his courageous battle with cancer, always concerned with what was going on in our lives when we would see him. Along with his wonderful wife Beverly, Peter Famiano is survived by a family of golf professionals who will serve the golfing community well for years to come thanks to what they learned from him.
By Jeff Liebler, past president of the New Jersey State Golf Association.