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Arthur "Red" Hoffman

  • 2004
Arthur "Red" Hoffman

Arthur 'Red Hoffman, a chronicler of golf in New Jersey for more than half a century, received the first NJPGA/NJSGA Distinguished Service Award.

The organizations honored Hoffman for his contributions to golf in the state. Television sports broadcaster Bill Raftery presented the award, commenting that Hoffman "is a wonderful human being along with all his accomplishments."

"This is a truly great honor," responded Hoffman. "I'll cherish it for the rest of my life."

Hoffman often notes that he does not miss his native Minnesota, where there are two seasons - July and winter." While there, got his start in journalism as a copy boy for the Minneapolis Star.

Service in the Army took him to Newark, where he worked for a military newspaper before becoming a reporter for the Newark News in 1946. He covered golf events to earn overtime pay and eventually became the golf writer, staying until the newspaper closed in 1972.

Hoffman received a fortuitous call at the time from Robert Trent Jones, the legendary golf architect, about handling publicity for a major tournament in Japan.

When could he start to work, Jones asked. "How about Monday?" Hoffman replied. "The paper just folded."

The association with Jones lasted until 1985 and took Hoffman to many golf courses and events, including two British Opens. During this period, Hoffman did some part-time golf writing, and when he left Jones, he began a 15-year stint as the golf columnist for the Newark Star-Ledger.

Hoffman also has served as correspondent for the New Jersey PGA for 35 years, and he edited the New Jersey State Open Championship program book for 30 years.

He has covered 15 Masters tournaments, about 12 U.S. Opens and the 1981 Ryder Cup in England. He was the first to report in 1971 that the United States Golf Association planned to move its headquarters from New York City to Far Hills, New Jersey. And he was the first to reveal the resolution of a controversy between tournament players and the PGA of America which resulted in formation of the Tournament Players Division, later the PGA Tour.

Hoffman previously received the Distinguished Service Award from the Metropolitan Golf Association and the Lincoln Werden Award for outstanding golf journalism from the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association.

Hoffman remembers covering the 1954 U.S. Open at Baltusrol Golf Club, when journeyman Ed Furgol took a detour through the woods on the final hole, hooking his drive, then playing to the 18th fairway of the Upper Course before hitting to the 18th green of the Lower Course, where the championship was played. Furgol reached the apron of the green, chipped to within four feet and made the putt to defeat Gene Littler by one stroke.

"I was right there. That had to be the most exciting finish I ever saw in my life," Hoffman says. "The guy played two different golf courses."

Among New Jersey events, Hoffman singles out the 1954 State Open at Essex County, where amateurs Chet Sanok and Billy Dear finished first and second in a competition normally dominated by professionals.

Hoffman and his wife Erma were married for 56 years. 

A member for over 30 years of Plainfield Country Club, Hoffman held a 7 handicap for many years and was the New Jersey medalist for the Metropolitan Amateur Championship in 1960.

It's fortunate for New Jersey golf that Red Hoffman didn't like those Minnesota winters. No one has done a better job of recording the highlights of the game in the Garden State.

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