PHOTO: From left, Bill Frese, professional Joe Haggerty of Montclair G.C. at Rock Spring,  Eric Houseknecht and Rick Wright

Originally scheduled for Monday, July 23, the day before the NJSGA Open Championship, the NJSGA Youth Foundation Pro-Am finally took place on Wednesday, October 10, at the Montclair Golf Club in West Orange.

The highlight of the event was the awarding of a donation by the NJSGA Youth Foundation to Play for P.I.N.K., the designated charity of the Montclair Golf Club. Play for P.I.N.K. supports breast cancer research.

The event attracted 17 of the original 32 foursomes who were able to play on the same course where the NJSGA Open, sponsored by the Lincoln Motor Company, was played on July 24-26. Open champion Marc Issler of the Toms River Golf Center, participated in the Pro-Am with a team of three amateurs.

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The Pro-Am is the biggest fund-raiser for the NJSGA Youth Foundation, which supports deserving youth golf and sports-related programs throughout the State of New Jersey. This support is provided through grants, instructional clinics, and recognition through NJSGA publications and events.

“This is an important day for the NJSGA. It’s the biggest fund-raiser for us in the entire year,” said Frank O’Brien, Youth Foundation chairman. “It’s a great opportunity for our corporate sponsors and other attendees to come together. We also thank the golf pros who are participating with us.”

“I echo Frank’s sentiments and I’m also pleased that this year the Youth Foundation has entered into a partnership with the ARC of Essex County and the ARC of Union County to support intellectually and developmentally challenged young men and women. The NJSGA does so by supporting their summer  camps,” said NJSGA president Bill Frese.

Besides the Lincoln Motor Company, three other NJSGA partners – Provident Bank, NJM Insurance Group, and St. Kitts tourism – each set up a booth adjacent to one of the par-3 teeing grounds, where they met with pro-am participants and distributed gifts.

“It’s nice that our sponsors can come together and support the Youth Foundation,” said NJSGA director of marketing Tom Jaronski. “It’s nice to have an event of this sort where we can build off their support.”

Said Provident Bank assistant vice president Keith Buscio: “The Pro-Am is another event where we can demonstrate our commitment to the sport of golf and the youth in the state.”

“The NJM Insurance Group is proud to support and NJSGA and its Youth Foundation,” said Grant Kneller, marketing specialist with NJM.

The Youth Foundation Pro-Am was a four-player team event and the format was Best-Ball of Four, net scoring. Teams were comprised of three amateurs and one professional. There was both a team competition and individual professionals´ competition.

The team competition was won by the team representing Essex Fells Country Club, led by head professional Brian Gaffney; and, in a repeat of this year’s State Open result, the individual professional winner was Marc Issler of the Toms River Golf Center. 

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