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Russ Helwig

  • 2014
Russ Helwig

Long-time Essex Fells head professional Russ Helwig, who served at the club for 40 years, was honored with the yearly Distinguished Service Award in 2014.

Helwig cited his former bosses, golf pros Emery Thomas of Green Brook and Dick Pierce of Echo Lake as major influences.

“I am a product of who I worked for. Dick Pierce taught me the business of golf is to be personable with people and to enjoy the game of golf,” Helwig said at the dinner. “You’ve got to truly love the game and love the people who love the game. Golf is a sport for your entire lifetime. At Essex Fells, I’m in a sphere of great people such as Ann Beard, Ed Batta and Bud Foley.”

He also thanked his wife, Suzanne, and five children, Meghan, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Benjamin and Allison.

Helwig embodied the spirit of the Distinguished Service Award which was created to honor those who have contributed exemplary volunteer service to golf in New Jersey.

Russ was elected to the PGA of America’s Quarter Century Club in 2000 for serving the association with honor and pride for 25 years and continues to serve as a role model for other PGA Professionals to emulate.

In addition to being an excellent instructor, Russ is renowned for developing top-notch assistant professionals, many of whom have moved on to become head professionals at other prestigious golf clubs. His efforts to help others grow and succeed earned him the New Jersey Section Bill Strausbaugh Award (Employment and Club Relations) in 1987, 1994 and 2000 and the Horton Smith Award (Education) in 1986.

The native of Bloomfield, N.J., has received a pair of other New Jersey Section special awards over the years; Merchandiser of the Year-Private Facilities in 1984 and Golf Professional of the Year, the most prestigious award a PGA Professional can receive, in 1987.

Russ also represented both his club and the PGA of America with his success on the golf course as well, having won the Dodge Open in 1980, the NJSGA State Open in 1980 and 1982, the New Jersey Senior Open in 1998 and 2005, the New Jersey Senior PGA Championship in 1997 and the MGA Senior Open in 1998. He has competed in one PGA Championship, one Senior PGA Championship and two US Open Championships. His great play earned him Player of the Year in 1980 and Senior Player of the Year in 1997, 1998 and 1999.

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