Red Hoffman Dies at 86 Celebrated Golf Writer and MGA DSA Winner
Arthur “Red” Hoffman, one of New Jersey and The Met Area’s most knowledgeable and prolific golf journalists and winner of the MGA’s 1990 Distinguished Service Award, died Saturday, May 21st, at age 86.
The man who was considered a walking encyclopedia of Met Area golf, covered the sport for more than 50 years in New Jersey -- first with the Newark Evening News and then the Star Ledger -- and for more than 11 years handled publicity for Robert Trent Jones Sr., one of the word’s most celebrated golf course architects.
Mr. Hoffman was born in Minneapolis, MN, and was one of the last soldiers to serve in the U.S. Cavalry before it was deactivated in 1942. He had attended the University of Minnesota, Washington & Lee University and Seton Hall University and served in the Air Force technical service in WWII. He joined the Newark Evening News in 1951 and began covering golf exclusively in 1959.
Known for his blazing red hair, natty attire, and a gnarling voice that resonated across a room, Red Hoffman may have been the last of the old time reporters. “He was from that generation that walked every round with the players during an event. He got to know them, he got to know the course and the club, and he really did his homework,” noted MGA Executive Director, Jay Mottola, who has known Hoffman for more than 25 years. “I had great respect for him and I know he truly respected the game and its traditions.”
Pulitzer prize winning writer Dave Anderson of the New York Times and a good friend of Hoffman’s once noted, “You could ask Red anything about Metropolitan Area golf or golf in general; he just knew it, didn’t even have to look it up. He could remember putts from 35 years ago. Underneath his trademark bark of a voice there was a very gentle man with a very appealing nature. He was just one of my favorite people.”
Though he primarily covered regional events, Red did break two important stories during his career – the settlement between the PGA of America and PGA Tour after the latter threatened to split from the parent Association in the late 1960’s, and the USGA decision to move from New York City to Golf House in the early 1970’s. A former President of the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association, and board member of the National Golf Writers Association, Mr. Hoffman was a longtime member of Plainfield Country Club in Plainfield, NJ, and also held memberships at Metedeconk National in Jackson, NJ, and Ballybunion Golf Club in Ireland. He was an avid golfer who played to a single digit handicap for most of his life and claimed to have played more than 550 golf courses worldwide, naming “Cypress Point my favorite, and Baltusrol the hardest.”
In addition to winning MGA’s Distinguished Service Award in 1990, Mr. Hoffman was presented with the1988 Lincoln Werden Award by the Met Golf Writers for his contributions to golf journalism, and the same year he was honored as “Sportswriter of the Year” by the NJ Sportswriters’ Association. In 2000, a caddie scholarship was named in his honor by the NJ State Golf Association, and in 2004, the NJSGA and NJPGA presented Red with their first joint service award.
Red Hoffman was one of the Met Area’s most unique and enduring characters and he will be greatly missed. We extend our condolences to his daughters, family, and many friends in golf.
Services will be Wed. & Thurs. May 26-May 27, 4-8 PM, at the Memorial Funeral Home, 155 South Avenue, Fanwood, New Jersey.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the MGA Foundation, 49 Knollwood Rd, Elmsford, NY 10523 or the NJ Caddy Scholarship Fund, c/o NJSGA, 1000 Broad St., Bloomfield, NJ 07003.