Sports

N.J. State Golf Association Unveils Hall of Fame

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Golf legend Byron Nelson won the 1935 NJSGA State Open Championship as an assistant pro at Ridgewood Country Club Credits: AP photo
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The New Jersey State Golf Association, with 118 years of golf history behind it, is proud to announce the formation of the NJSGA Hall of Fame.

The inaugural class boasts the most prominent names in that 118-year period including both famed players and those who have made a unique and lasting impact on the game of golf.

Among those honored are professionals Byron Nelson, Johnny Farrell and Vic Ghezzi, legendary amateurs Chet Sanok, Carolyn Cudone, Jerome Travers, Maureen Orcutt and Bob Housen and accomplished players Charlotte Glutting and Charles Whitehead.

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Other inductees include renowned architect A.W. Tillinghast, who designed Baltusrol among others; famed African-American golf pioneer John Shippen; noted journalist Arthur (Red) Hoffman; Dr. Ralph Engel, founder of the Rutgers’ Turfgrass school , and benefactors Nestor J. MacDonald (founder of NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation), and Billy Y. Dear (youth golf and caddie scholarship). 

The induction ceremony for the inaugural NJSGA Hall of Fame class will take place on Tuesday, May 1, in the ballroom at Galloping Hill Golf Course in Kenilworth, home of the NJSGA.

“New Jersey has a tremendous heritage of golf and an association that ranks among the oldest in the United States. It was time for our greatest players and contributors to be recognized,” said Bill Frese, President of the NJSGA and Chairman of the NJSGA Hall of Fame Committee.

 “We started with the idea of acknowledging the great players but quickly decided to include those who have made significant contributions to the game,” added Kevin Purcell, Executive Director of the NJSGA. “The NJSGA Hall of Fame will honor those with significant competitive achievements as well as those who helped bring recognition, honor, distinction and excellence to New Jersey golf.”

The Hall of Fame will be housed at Galloping Hill with a video kiosk and list of inductees. The Hall of Fame will also have a strong presence on the NJSGA’s website (www.NJSGA.org) which will be newly enhanced for 2018.

The NJSGA Hall of Fame has been established to recognize and enshrine men and women who, as New Jersey natives or residents at their time of achievement, have impacted New Jersey golf and/or have made extraordinary contributions to the game through competitive and non-competitive accomplishments.

The mission is to honor New Jersey’s finest amateur and professional golf competitors, as well as those who have made outstanding contributions in other areas of golf such as architects, journalists, superintendents, mentors, volunteers and others.

Beginning in 2018, nominations will be taken for worthy candidates and considered by the NJSGA Hall of Fame Committee.

A LOOK AT THE INAUGURAL CLASS OF INDUCTEES:

CAROLYN CUDONE (1918-2009)

Playing primarily out of Montclair Golf Club, Cudone won 20 state amateur championships, including 10 in New Jersey, six in New York and four in South Carolina. From 1968 through 1972, she won five straight U.S. Senior Amateur titles, becoming the only person, man or woman in any division, to ever to win five consecutive U.S. amateur titles.

In 1961, at the age of 42, she finished ninth in the U.S. Open. Cudone also played on the 1956 U.S. Curtis Cup team. In 1970, she was appointed the team's captain and was named Golf Magazine's Amateur of the Year.

WILLIAM Y. DEAR (1912-1986)

An outstanding golfer who won the NJSGA Amateur Championship in 1951, Billy Dear’s legacy is in his giving back to the game. A true benefactor, he fostered competition for young boys with his own championship, and the NJSGA Junior and Boys championships are named after him. He gave generously to the Caddie Scholarship Foundation.

During his playing career, Dear had affiliations with both Morris County Golf Club and Essex County Country Club. In addition to his State Amateur victory, he was runner-up in the State Open in 1951. He was also runner-up in the Amateur four times and partnered with four different players to win the NJSGA Four-Ball Championship five times.     

DR. RALPH ENGEL (1915-1995)

Dr. Engel initiated the two-year Rutgers Winter Turf Management Course in 1962, and as program administrator and as an instructor, he graduated over 1,000 students. The native of Nebraska earned his doctorate at Rutgers (1951) and devoted his life to turf development. His research focused on improving the quality of turfgrasses, and he spearheaded early research in the areas of weed and insect control. Dr. Engel’s efforts gained universal recognition and in 1993, he won the USGA's Green Section Award.

During his early years in New Jersey, Dr. Engel pioneered the concept of turfgrass visitation service, conducting consulting visitations with superintendents at MGA and NJSGA clubs. These visitations became the basis for the current USGA Green Section Turf Advisory Service. Through his 40-plus years of work, Dr. Engel received many honors, including the GCSAA Distinguished Service Award, election into the New Jersey Turfgrass Hall of Fame, Professor Emeritus from Rutgers University, and the John Reid Lifetime Achievement Award from the MGA Golf Course Superintendents Association.

JOHNNY FARRELL (1901-1988)

Farrell was the head professional at Baltusrol Golf Club for 33 years, beginning in 1934, and one of the leading pros of his era, winning 21 PGA events. Farrell, who won the U.S. Open in 1928 when he beat Bobby Jones by one shot in a 36-hole playoff, played in the first Masters tournament and was on the PGA Tour from 1919 until the mid-1930's. He finished second in the U.S. Open twice, second in the PGA Championship twice and second in the British Open once. He won the 1936 New Jersey State Open.

Starting in the spring of 1927, he won eight consecutive PGA Tour events, a run that was unequalled until Byron Nelson won eleven in a row in 1945. Farrell was voted Best Golf Professional in the United States in 1927 and ’28. He played for the United States in the first three Ryder Cups: 1927, 1929, and 1931. He taught golf to Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon and Ford, as well as Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Douglas Fairbanks, and the Duke of Windsor.

 VIC GHEZZI (1910-1976)

Born in Rumson, Ghezzi won 11 times on the PGA Tour, including one major title, the 1941 PGA Championship, where he defeated Byron Nelson in 38 holes in the final. Ghezzi, working out of Deal Golf & Country Club, won three State Opens (1937, ’43, ’44) and two New Jersey PGA Championships (1939, ’49).

He was selected for three Ryder Cup teams, 1939, 1941, and 1943, but each was canceled due to World War II.  At the U.S. Open in 1946, he was in a 36-hole Sunday playoff with Lloyd Mangrum and Byron Nelson. Mangrum won that afternoon by a single stroke over both Ghezzi and Nelson. Ghezzi was elected to the PGA of America's Hall of Fame in 1965.

CHARLOTTE GLUTTING (1910-1996)

Glutting was born in Newark in 1910. She graduated from the Beard School (now Morristown-Beard School) in 1927. Playing out of Rock Spring Club, she was the first to win the state Women’s Amateur Championship four times (1931, 1932, 1934, 1935).

Glutting captured the decisive point of the 1934 Curtis Cup to lead the American team to victory. In 1938, she led the U.S. team to its fourth consecutive Curtis Cup victory at the tournament.

Glutting captured numerous prestigious championships, including the 1934 North and South Women's Amateur played at Pinehurst Resort. In 1935, she reached the semi-finals of the U.S. Women's Amateur.

 ARTHUR (RED) HOFFMAN (1919-2005)

Hoffman was considered a walking encyclopedia of New Jersey golf. He covered the sport for more than 50 years - first with the Newark Evening News and then the Star Ledger. He was presented with the 1988 Lincoln Werden Award by the Met Golf Writers for his contributions to golf journalism, and the same year he was honored as “Sportswriter of the Year” by the N.J. Sportswriters’ Association.

In 2000, a caddie scholarship for journalism students was named in his honor by the NJSGA, and in 2004, the NJSGA and NJPGA presented Red with their first joint Distinguished Service Award (DSA).

He served as president of the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association, and as a board member of the Golf Writers Association of America.  A member of Plainfield Country Club, he also served for many years as editor of the NJSGA Open program book. Today, the Hoffman Cup, an interclub team event, is played in his honor.

ROBERT HOUSEN  (1938 - )

Bob Housen, the winner of six New Jersey State Golf Association Amateur Championships, is known as one of the finest amateurs in the history of the state. He is long-time member of Manasquan River Golf Club and is a former captain and record 24-time member of the NJSGA’s Compher Cup teams, a seven-time winner of the State Pre-Senior and two-time champion of the State Senior Open.

Housen is a two-time Met Senior Amateur champion and also won the Legends Division (70-plus) of the Met Senior Amateur.  In 2010, he won the Super Seniors Division of the NJSGA Senior Amateur. Housen also has the distinction of having won the Father & Son Championship with both his father, Donald (four times) and his son Chris (once).

NESTOR J. MACDONALD (1895-1991)

MacDonald was an original founder of the NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation and its chairman from 1957 to 1967. He was a member of Rock Spring Club and Baltusrol, a member of the Scottish Trust, and a recipient of the British Royal Order of Merit.

He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force at the outbreak of World War I, became a fighter pilot in England and was shot down, surviving the crash, but suffering multiple injuries.

In 1920, he joined the New York firm of Thomas and Betts which produces electric connectors and accessories. Starting as a salesman, he rose to company president (1955), CEO (1960), and Board Chairman (1965). He is remembered as one of the great benefactors in New Jersey golf history and today a full four-year scholarship to Rutgers University is named in his honor.

BYRON NELSON (1912-2006)

One of the greatest golfers ever, Byron Nelson is recognized for having won 64 professional tournaments, including five majors. In 1945, he won an amazing 11 consecutive tournaments and 18 total events. While working as an assistant professional at The Ridgewood Country Club, Nelson won the State Open in 1935 and the Met Open in 1936.

The next year, 1937, he made his name known from coast to coast. His dramatic birdie at the par-3 12th hole and eagle-3 on the par-5 15th at Augusta, enabled him to snatch the 1937 Masters from Braidburn’s (now Brooklake C.C.) Ralph Guhldahl, who had won the U. S. Open that year.

From 1940-42, Nelson won 13 championships, including the 1940 PGA and the 1942 Masters, defeating Ben Hogan in a playoff. In 1944, Nelson won six tournaments.  But 1945 was his year, the greatest year, in fact, by any individual golfer.

MAUREEN ORCUTT (1907-2007)

Among Orcutt’s 65 victories were 10 Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association Championships (the first and last of which were separated by 42 years) along with six New Jersey Amateurs, seven Women’s Eastern match-play titles, five Metropolitan Seniors, three North and South Amateurs, two U.S. Seniors and two Canadian Amateurs. A lifelong member of White Beeches Golf & Country Club, Orcutt finished second in the White Beeches men's club championship at the age of 17.

From 1932 to 1938, Orcutt played on the U.S. team in the first four Curtis Cup matches. She was the runner-up in the U.S. Amateur in 1927 and 1936. As a journalist, she covered women’s golf for five publications including The New York Journal. In 1969, she received the first Tanqueray Award for contributions to amateur sports. She was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame and the New York Sports Hall of Fame.

CHESTER (CHET) SANOK (1919-1996)

A native of Belleville, Sanok worked as a caddie at Forest Hill Field Club in the 1930’s and finished runner-up in the 1938 State Junior Championship at Echo Lake. Winning five State Amateurs, Sanok also won the State Open in 1951 and 1956. In 1952, he became the first amateur to win the Met Open.

While most of his success came in the 1950s (playing out of Upper Montclair Country Club), he remained a threat on any golf course well into the 1970s. In 1974, he became the only man to win both the State Amateur and the State Senior Open in the same year. In 1975, he won both the Ike and his final State Amateur.

Sanok defeated Ben Hogan in an exhibition match at Forsgate in 1953, the same year Hogan won the Masters, the U.S. Open and the British Open. Sanok defeated him by two strokes.

JOHN SHIPPEN (1879-1968)

Shippen, an African American/Native American golfer who competed in several of the early U.S. Opens, was believed to be the first American-born golf professional.  At the age of 16, Shippen earned an assistant professional post at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club where he began giving lessons to some of the club members and became an accomplished player in his own right.  With the 1896 U.S. Open to be contested at Shinnecock, Shippen entered the championship over the protests of several English and Scottish professionals in the field.  He finished fifth in the championship and went on to compete in five more U.S. Opens, the last in 1913.

He eventually served as a golf professional at several clubs, including the famed Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa., with his last stop at the Shady Rest Golf Course in Scotch Plains, N.J., in 1924. He remained there until his retirement in 1960. Today, the John Shippen Foundation and Youth Academy in Scotch Plains is named in his honor.

JEROME TRAVERS (1887-1951)

Jerry Travers, who was born in New York City, is considered not only the first great New Jersey amateur golfer, but was also considered the finest American amateur golfer in the days before Bobby Jones.  He played out of Montclair Golf Club, and later Upper Montclair Country Club.

Travers was not only the first to win the State Amateur four times -while making the final six times in a row between the years 1907-13 (he did not enter in 1909) - but the first to win five Metropolitan Amateurs, and four U.S. Amateurs.  Bobby Jones is the only other golfer to win more than three U.S. Amateurs. His greatest victory, the 1915 United States Open, made him the second amateur, after Francis Ouimet in 1913, to win the U.S. Open when he ground out a score of 297 at Baltusrol. Travers was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1976.

ALBERT WARREN TILLINGHAST (1876-1942)

Born in Philadelphia, it was in New Jersey where Tillinghast made his mark and became one of the most-sought-after architects of his day. In 1916, at age 40, he moved to New Jersey and established an office in Harrington Park.  Baltusrol, the first contiguous 36-hole course built in America, was considered his most important design in the state.

His original New Jersey designs, in order beginning in 1916, include Shackamaxon, Somerset Hills, Essex County,  Baltusrol, Suburban, Forest Hill, Suneagles, Ridgewood and Alpine. Reconstruction/extended designs include Spring Lake, Upper Montclair, Glen Ridge, Hollywood and Echo Lake. He also did consulting examinations on Pine Valley, Hollywood, Deal, Cranford and Trenton.

Among his notable other projects were Bethpage State Park, Winged Foot Golf Club, Newport Country Club and the San Francisco Golf Club.

CHARLES WHITEHEAD (1913-1984)

Whitehead, of Plainfield Country Club, was the most titled New Jersey amateur golfer during the period between the two World Wars. He won six New Jersey Amateur titles in seven years.

After winning the title for the first time in 1936, Charley was beaten in the second round when he tried to defend the following year, but then never lost a match in the amateur again as he reeled off 25 straight match wins, many by lopsided margins, in taking the next five championships.

A month after winning his sixth and final amateur title, Whitehead became the first amateur to win the New Jersey State Open when he shot 289 at Yountakah Golf Club in Nutley in 1942. He finished three shots ahead of Vic Ghezzi, who had defeated Byron Nelson to win the PGA Championship the year before.

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