Monumental Celebration at 2024 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Monumental Celebration at 2024 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

(L-R) Dot Paluk & Bob Ross

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. - Over 175 people gathered to celebrate the four individuals being inducted into the New Jersey State Golf Association Hall of Fame on Wednesday, May 1 at Baltusrol Golf Club.  

The joyous occasion honored the careers of Helen Hockenjos, Chester “Red” Wender, Dot Paluck and Bob Ross.  

“125 years of serving golfers and our member clubs in the wonderful state of New Jersey. Over that time, a small group of individuals have distinguished themselves for furthering the game of golf in New Jersey,” NJSGA President Rod McRae explained. “They have contributed to the rich history of the game and the tradition of golf in our state. The New Jersey State Golf Association Hall of Fame was created to recognize those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the game of golf in New Jersey and have helped bring recognition, honor, distinction and excellence to New Jersey golf.” 

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For Paluck and Ross, Baltusrol holds a special place in their lives. Ross spent over 20 years as their golf professional, mentoring over a dozen assistants into future head professionals.  

“I'm honored and humbled,” Ross expressed. “Especially to be honored at Baltusrol after being here for over 20 years is phenomenal to me. I come back here and I feel younger and alive every time I come back.” 

Considered the consummate golf professional, Ross is respected for his career of devoted service to his membership, mentoring dozens of young golf professionals, a strong playing record, and for hosting multiple national championships and earning national recognition for his achievements.

"Bob is a wonderful mentor and sounding board for me over the years as he has been for so many of his assistants," said Cindy Ferro, a former golf professional at Baltusrol. "So many of his assistants have moved on to greater accomplishments in this golf industry. I'm so grateful to have had Bob as my boss, a mentor and a friend."

Paluck, a member of Baltusrol as well as Somerset Hills Country Club, has spent many years serving as a tireless volunteer for mutliple golf associations. She has collected several accolades for her volunteerism and dedication to the game.  

"When I think about it all, all I can think of is what a good time I really had," Paluck reflected. "It may sound like I worked hard, but I really had fun. Golf is such a wonderful sport, it really is and you learn so much not only about the game, but about yourself. For me, it was an eye opener all the time. Every time I went out there, I learned something new about myself."

Paluck also served as chair and vice-chair of the USGA Women’s Committee and USA captain for the 2016 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship.

"I don't know anybody who is better equipped or better worthy of going in to the NJSGA Hall of Fame,” said fellow volunteer and longtime friend Brigid Lamb.  

“Dot has the most welcoming, open manner that invites people into the game,” Lamb added. “She's volunteered all over the United States and really all over the world to bring people into the game. She's been an ambassador for the game.” 

Honored posthumously, many Wender family members and former colleagues were in attendance to honor and celebrate the late Plainfield Country Club superintendent. Wender spent over 40 years at Plainfield and made significant improvements for the golf course superintendent field. 

“This is just spectacular,” Wender’s daughter, Celeste Zelesnick reflected. “It’s amazing to us. He made so many sacrifices, but it never felt like a sacrifice because he just loved his job so much. This is the cherry on top for him.” 

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