The late Phillips Babcock, NJSGA board member, treasurer, rules official and NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation supporter and club representative, is the winner of the prestigious NJSGA Honey Gantner Award for 2016.
The Honey Gantner Award is the first such award in the history of the NJSGA to be named after an individual, the late Honey Gantner of North Jersey Country Club and is presented each year in her honor at the NJSGA Annual Meeting to an outstanding individual who has served the NJSGA on a volunteer basis.
Mr. Babcock, who passed away this year on August 20 at age 88, is the fifth winner of the award which began in 2012 with a presentation to Honey Gantner herself. Other recipients are Vic Bacile (2013), Bob Krueger (2014) and Bernie Samons (2015).
“Phil was a true gentleman from the era when that meant impeccable manners, unquestioned integrity, a high-level of intelligence and a wonderful work ethic,” said board member and former NJSGA president Jay MacNeill.
“He had a deep admiration for the New Jersey State Golf Association and, in particular, the Caddie Scholarship Foundation. Phil had an impish sense of humor and an easy laugh. His service on the Board of Trustees and as treasurer brought his management skills and intelligence to the forefront. He was a great aid to all those who served the Association,” said MacNeill, who served as president from 2006-07 while Mr. Babcock was treasurer.
In 2009, the NJSGA Board of Trustees honored Mr. Babcock for his seven years of service as treasurer of the Association.
At the presentation, then NJSGA president Ben Del Vento stated: “We accomplished so much through Phil’s efforts and financial acumen.
Mr. Babcock responded by saying “I love golf. The Association has meant an awful lot to me personally and I get a lot of satisfaction out of the camaraderie among the trustees and the members of various committees.”
He had been a member at Rockaway River Country Club in Denville since 1982 and was a former member of the Moorestown Field Club.
“Golf and the NJSGA were very dear to his heart,” said his son, John. “I remember he was there with the NJSGA for a lot of years, more than 20 years, volunteering as a rules official, scorekeeper, board member and treasurer.
“Golf was a natural to Dad. More than anything, he was a very principled guy. He loved the rules of golf, he loved the etiquette, and he loved the people who played the game. Equally as well, he loved the history of the game,” John continued.
“Dad loved golf, loved the New Jersey State Golf Association, and loved being part of that organization. Through him I’m now the Caddie Scholarship Foundation representative for the Morris County Golf Club. You might say his passion transferred down a generation to myself,” he added.
When Mr. Babcock passed away, the family asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation.
“My father was one of those guys, that wherever he went, he knew somebody. He was one of those guys who had lots of friends and colleagues all over the globe,” John stated. His dad played more than 40 courses in Scotland and Ireland.
Born in Plainfield, Mr. Babcock graduated from Lincoln High School in Jersey City in 1946, and then Amherst College in 1950, where he was a member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity.
After college, Mr. Babcock served as a 1st Lieutenant in the Army during the Korean War from 1951-1954. After being honorably discharged, he went to work for the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company, serving as its treasurer from 1978-80; he then was the assistant treasurer and director of banking relations for AT&T until 1984; and finally worked for Callan Associates, Inc. as their executive vice-president, retiring in 1996.
He was also a member of the University Glee Club of New York City, the Mountain Lakes Squadron, a trustee of the Lakeland YMCA and treasurer of the Morristown Neighborhood House. Phillips was also a big fan of the New York Yankees and football Giants, and enjoyed traveling, especially to Scotland.