NJM Blog

Q&A with NJSGA Executive Director, Kevin Purcell

NJSGA Executive Director, Kevin Purcell, in front of lush green fairway on a sunny day.

Tune in to a PGA or LPGA Tour event this year and you can watch four New Jersey natives compete against the best players in the world. It’s a sign that golf is flourishing in The Garden State, so we spoke to the man who directs the NJSGA to find out what we can expect in 2024.

With the new golf season underway, is there any news for 2024 you’d like to share with NJSGA members?

We spent a lot of time in the offseason discussing “how we can do what we do” better. The theme of Elevating the Experience is our focus for the 2024 season. Players at our Championships and Member Golf Days will see a concerted effort to provide a consistently high standard. This will go beyond golf days to the services we provide to clubs like handicapping and course rating as well as all the other events we run.

Looking ahead, 2025 is the 125th anniversary of the NJSGA’s founding. We’ll be gearing up all year for a great celebration.

Three former NJSGA Player of the Year honorees earned their PGA Tour Card for 2024. What are your thoughts and what does this say about the state of golf in New Jersey?

How great is this for the New Jersey golf fan? I remember the years rooting for Morgan Hoffmann, Bill Britton and Jim McGovern. Now, with Ryan McCormick, Max Greyserman and Chris Gotterup in the mix, we’ll have Jersey boys to cheer each week. We’re proud of these guys and we’re looking forward to celebrating their success.

And let’s not forget Marina Alex on the LPGA Tour. She was practically raised on the driving range at North Jersey Country Club. She’s got a couple of wins out there and she’s looking for more.

Are there any rule changes that players should be aware of entering 2024?

There are no new Rules of Golf changes for the ’24 season but the Rules of Handicapping have been updated for the first time since the launch of the World Handicap System (WHS) in 2020. Players can now post 9–hole scores that will count toward your Handicap Index the very next day. No more waiting for 9–hole scores to combine with others.

Players can easily post incomplete scores when they play 10–17 holes by posting the scores hole–by–hole. The system will automatically complete the score using the expected Score Differential for the holes not played ensuring that a score gets posted each time you play, whether you finish or not.

Scores can also be posted at courses as short as 750 yards for 9 holes and 1,500 yards for 18 holes that have a Course Rating™ and Slope Rating™ expanding the opportunity to post for players who frequent short courses.

There are more than NJSGA championship events scheduled for 2024. Who can compete in these events?

The NJSGA hosts 25 state championships, as well as 9 USGA qualifiers, and a number of team events. Eligibility for these championships vary and can be determined in the player information for each event at NJSGA.org. Our Member Golf Days are open to everyone! We encourage all our members to participate by playing one of our fine host courses.

What is the NJSGA doing in 2024 to further promote women’s golf and grow the game for female players?

Last year’s spring New Jersey Golf Magazine proclaimed The Year of Women’s Golf, celebrating multiple professional tour events in the state and the inaugural NJSGA Women’s Open at Montclair Golf Club. We’re going to build on the success of 2023 with continued focus on our Women’s Member Golf Days and championship schedule. We started the year with a wonderful panel discussion for National Women and Girls in Sports day at the USGA headquarters. The Open Championship will be hosted by Knickerbocker Country Club and the Amateur and Mid–Amateur will be at Watchung Valley.

What is the greatest benefit of being an NJSGA member?

This may seem a little esoteric, but I think the greatest benefit is being part of the golf community, knowing that your membership helps support the state championships, the NJSGA Hall of Fame, youth golf initiatives, and so much more. The game is so healthy right now and our ranks are growing. People want to be part of a good thing.

What do you like most about being the NJSGA Executive Director?

The people… by far.

When I was young there were two members of Forest Hill that volunteered for the NJSGA. Frank Kovats was a long time Tournament Committee volunteer and Tom Berberian was Tournament Chairman and eventually President. They always spoke so highly of their experience and at a young age I appreciated their commitment.

Fast forward a few years and I get to interact daily with over 150 volunteers. Between the NJSGA Board, Course Raters and Tournament Officials I spend time with incredibly generous people who donate their time and talent to make this game better for all of us.

I also get to work with nine incredibly dedicated colleagues who spend most of their waking hours thinking about other people’s golf game. From handicapping services to course rating to running events this group puts their heart and soul into their jobs and it’s my privilege to work in their company.

And then there’s the golfer. They may have bad days, but by and large, they’re good people and I like being around them.

NJM, a leading property and casualty insurer in the Mid–Atlantic region, is proud to partner with the golf community. Contact your agent or broker, visit njm.com/njsga, or find an agent at njm.com/agentdirectory.

The information contained in this article should not be construed as professional advice, and is not intended to replace official sources. Other resources linked from these pages are maintained by independent providers; therefore, NJM cannot guarantee their accuracy.