The Wiegand Farm Golf Classic – 43 Years of Making a Difference
Through the years, golf outings have helped raise over $5,000,000 for the Department for Persons with Disabilities. These events have helped give individuals, businesses and corporations an opportunity to get to know the DPD Family, while enjoying a fun and exciting day.
The Wiegand Farm Golf Classic is our longest running golf outing and one of the longest running charity golf events in the state of New Jersey. Wiegand Farm is a rural family community setting located in Jefferson Township where men and women with intellectual and developmental disabilities live with dignity and in peace. Wiegand Farm is the location of our Administrative Offices and four of DPD’s group homes: (Knights of) Columbus House, Finnegan House, Alexander House and Giuliano House. Wiegand Farm is named after Peter Wiegand, a young boy with intellectual disabilities who was one of the first people DPD served.
The Wiegand Farm Golf Classic had its beginnings as a small local event, relying on community groups including the Knights of Columbus and Optimist Clubs from Oak Ridge and Milton. The first Wiegand Farm Golf Classic was held on May 17th 1974 at Bowling Green Golf Club. Wiegand Farm neighbor Albert Riggs opened this course 7 years prior in 1967 and we were one of the first charity groups to host an annual event there. The cost to play in the first event was $20.00 ($112 with inflation in 2017) and we raised over $800 on that first event ($4,500 with inflation in 2017).
In the 1990’s and 2000’s the Wiegand Farm Golf Classic moved to several different courses including Rolling Green Golf Course in Newton, Skyview Golf Course in Sparta and Picatinny Arsenal. In 2012 we moved back “home” to Bowling Green. 2 years later, we added a second course, Berkshire Valley, also in Jefferson Township. We were one of the few outings in the state of New Jersey to utilize two completely different venues simultaneously for one outing. In 2017, we embark on another journey, moving the event to Crystal Springs Resort in Vernon. This venue will potentially allow us to expand in the future and offer a 3rd course and other opportunities to attendees and sponsors.
The Wiegand Farm Golf Classic has grown from a small local outing to a large, corporate backed event; while still keeping "small town" charm. From 2010 - 2016 the event has increased gross revenue by 1,000% and attracted a record 255 golfers in 2016. It is now one of the largest golf outings in the state of New Jersey. We owe much of this success to our event sponsors: Lakeland Bank and Eastern Propane. Lakeland Bank has been the Event Sponsor of the Wiegand Farm Golf Classic for over 2 decades. Eastern Propane came on board in 2013. We are blessed to have support from these 2 local companies who do so much to make a difference in the community.
If you mention the Wiegand Farm Golf Classic around Jefferson Township or DPD, one person’s name comes to mind: Jack Kelly. Jack, a past board member, has been involved with our organization since the early 1970’s and has been the chairman of our Wiegand Farm Golf Classic Committee for 45 years. A selfless and determined gentleman, Jack has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for DPD through this event. In 2014, we retired a hole in honor of Jack; the 18th hole at the Wiegand Farm Golf Classic will forever be known as the Jack Kelly Green!
Another name synonymous with the Wiegand Farm Golf Classic is Anthony. When asked their favorite part of the day, many Wiegand golfers respond “winning a watch from Anthony.” Anthony moved into DPD’s programs in the early 1990’s, after his mother passed away. Anthony has thrived and become a more independent person since moving into Alexander House on Wiegand Farm. Golfers can win a watch from Anthony by hitting the green on one of the par 3’s.
We look forward to reaching new heights and making new memories with you by our side!
The Casey Classic, John Taggart Memorial Outing and Other DPD Golf Events
The late Father Stephen Patch realized the financial impact of the families and elderly parents who had adult children with developmental disabilities unable to care for themselves. In light of their situation, he initiated the Casey Classic in 1975 with the purpose of supporting the programs of the Department for Persons with Disabilities.
Monsignor Patch enlisted corporate leaders and other benefactors who together helped develop the Casey Classic into the “Corporate Response to Helping Families in Need.” In the early 2000’s the torch was passed by Monsignor Patch onto a new generation of Casey supporters. Patrick Newton, Paul Natoli, Michael O’Donnell and Glenn Stock led the Casey Classic Committee and helped raise over 500,000 in the decade in which they were Committee Members. 2010 was the last year in which we held a Casey Classic, due to a changing corporate and economic climate. The legacy of the Casey Classic lives on through the Wiegand Farm Golf Classic which has now become DPD’s largest fundraiser of the year.
John Taggart was a lifelong servant of the church and Brother Knight at the Knights of Columbus Council #943. All of the Taggart “Boys” are members of Council #943 and many of them were part of the original Squire organization at that Council. As John became more active in the council, one of his dearest fundraisers was the annual drive support people with developmental disabilities. He felt that God had blessed him with nine happy, healthy children and that he wanted to give back to the community to show his appreciation.
On July 23, 1992, John passed away quietly after battling cancer. John's family wanted to pay tribute to their father. Youngest son, Terence took over as chairman of the disability drive in John's memory. After chairing the drive successfully for 3 years Terence and fellow Knight, Pat Newton decided to expand upon the fundraising efforts and sponsored the John Taggart Memorial Golf Outing (JTMGO) in 1996. Connecting John's memory to the Department of People with Disabilities is the greatest gift his family could give in his memory. For more information about the JTMGO visit www.dpd.org/jtmgo.
Numerous other service groups, including the Vernon Rotary Club and Paterson Federation host annual golf events to support the Department for Persons with Disabilities. For more information on these events please contact our Development Office at (973) 406-1104.