The New Jersey State Golf Association’s Caddie Scholarship Foundation celebrated its 69thyear of service when it hosted its annual caddie scholars’ reception at its facility at the Galloping Hill Golf Course in Kenilworth on Wednesday, June 22.

With 33 caddies in attendance, plus members of their immediate families, a crowd of more than 100 gathered including current and former caddie scholars, parents, friends, guest speakers, and administrators of the NJSGA.


Guest speakers included Caddie Scholarship Foundation chairman Ed Batta, Caddie Scholar alumnus Bill King, current Nestor J. McDonald scholar Emily Woods of Navesink , NJSGA president Dan Meehan, CSF vice chairman Ben Del Vento and NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation director Johanna Gavin.

The CSF has surpassed $12.7 million in donations in its 69-year history after surpassing the $11 million mark in 2014. This year, 179 scholarships were awarded, totaling $762,744. The NJSGA CSF gives away 88 percent of its total donations received.

“We are one of the most well-run caddie scholarship organizations in the nation,” Batta said.

The graduation rate is an amazing 96 percent, highest in the nation. The NJSGA CSF grants 21 named scholarships that augment the regular $3,500 award.

Grade point averages of the 2016-17 academic class averaged 3.5-plus and the average SAT score was nearly 1,200, according to Sheila Menendez, CSF Director of Education. Over the 69 years of continuous operation, nearly 3,000 individuals have been rewarded with NJSGA CSF scholarships.

“Receiving an NJSGA Caddie Scholarship is a big deal in my family,” said Woods, whose McDonald Scholarship covers full tuition at Rutgers University. “My father and my brother are caddie scholars. I haven’t declared a major yet, but thanks to my caddie scholarship I have the opportunity to explore what’s best for me. I wouldn’t trade this opportunity for anything in the world. “

Batta stated the 92 percent of those students who apply receive NJSGA Caddie Scholarships.

“Our new caddie scholars will one day also realize the satisfaction of personal achievement. It is because of this exceptional academic performance that so many in our New Jersey golfing community support your education with their dollars,” Batta said. “We are proud to report that 88 percent of those dollars fo directly to scholarship payments. More than 2,600 of your predecessors have benefitted from our caddie scholarship program.

“Caddieing is a unique life experience that requires the same self-motivation and dedication that made you successful in the classroom,” Batta said. “You have to prove that you can do the job physically and intelligently.

“Those of you here have proven you have what it takes to be a top-notch caddie, an excellent student and a terrific son or daughter, one who is committed to doing what it takes to be a productive young citizen and a leader among your peers.

“You have benefitted with greater self-esteem and personal discipline and the knowledge that you can do better in everything that you choose to do,” Batta stated.

King, a long-time head professional at Spring Lake Golf Club, received his scholarship to Rutgers University where he joined the golf team.

“Find some mentors in fields you want to get involved with. Give back to your family, give back to the Caddie Scholarship Foundation,” King told the audience. “I’m very proud to be called a Caddie Scholar.”

“I’m very proud that we are the best single state association for caddie scholarships,” Del Vento said. “All we do is raise money for education. Education is the most precious gift you can give to anyone.”

NJSGA Caddie Scholars receive a minimum award of $3,500 per year for all incoming freshmen and new in-college recipients. This action is a continuance of the Foundation’s long-range goal to keep pace with the continued increase in tuition costs.

In 2015, a total of $844,668 was awarded to 199 scholarships recipients. In 2014, 203 students received awards totaling $870,484.

While admittedly a supplemental scholarship in terms of overall college costs, the NJSGA Caddie Scholarship plays an important role for most recipients, given that the main focus is to provide scholarships for those most in need. Since its inception in 1947, the Foundation has funded the costs of higher education to more than 3,400 caddie scholars.

The scholarships are funded through individual member contributions at the NJSGA’s member clubs that sponsor caddie programs. The applicant must have caddied at least two golfing seasons, document financial need, and demonstrate an academic record consistent with college requirements.

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