The recent frigid temperatures, blizzard-like conditions and general Antarctic-ness that has swept the region in recent weeks may have kept you from thinking about hitting the links. But it has not done that for Cherry Hill resident and Rutgers University-Camden head golf coach Robert “Bob” Cardea.
Cardea has lived in Cherry Hill for more than 40 years attending Cherry Hill High School East and playing for the school’s golf team once upon a time. His wife, Paula, is a math teacher in the district at Rosa Middle School.
“Cherry Hill has been a huge part of my life,” Cardea said. “I went to school here and now my four kids do as well.”
Cardea played all four years at East with his Cougar teams winning state titles three of the four years. He went on to play at Wesley College and Towson University. He has been the site director for numerous national organizations, competitions and programs, including the LPGA Girls Golf Program, Re/Max Skill Challenge, and Long Drivers of America, as seen on ESPN. He has been coaching the Scarlet Raptors golf team for more than 20 years. Cardea said he has made a focus of keeping the region’s talented players in the region to play collegiately.
“It is cool to keep the local talent here,” Cardea said. “Our top 10 players are all guys who were No. 1 players at their schools. We have players from Delran High School, Paul VI, a lot of the kids from the area.”
Cardea also serves as the general manager for The Camden County Golf Academy.
The academy, formerly the Cooper River Driving Range, is located in Pennsauken. Rutgers teamed with the Camden County Parks Department to revitalize the facility, which includes an aquatic, lighted, 60-station double-decker driving range with real grass tees, and a short game area with a putting green and sand trap. The effect the facility has had on the team and Cardea is undeniable.
“To have a home practice facility for the team to come out and use has been huge for us,” Cardea said. “The kids can practice in any weather, all year. That kind of access has been great for them.”
Cardea has been named the Division III Northeast Atlantic Conference coach of the year three of the last five seasons. The Scarlet Raptors are consistently atop their division and look to stay that way for the next several years. That team may include Cardea’s son, who is a junior at East.
“Oh I’m definitely recruiting him,” Cardea said with a laugh. “He truly could be a special player; he has that talent.”