GOLF, Ill. – January 20, 2023 – The Illinois PGA Foundation announced today that its 2022 Birdies for Charity fundraiser, held the day after Labor Day, raised $608,000, bringing the 12-year total amount raised to $3.33 million. 2022 marked a new record for money raised during the event. The previous record amount occurred in 2019 when Illinois PGA Professionals raised $400,000.
After taking a one-year hiatus for the event to be contested at Oak Park Country Club, the 2022 Illinois PGA Section event returned to its traditional host site of River Forest Country Club. The Central Illinois PGA (CIPGA) Chapter held its fifth annual Birdies for Charity at Country Club of Peoria in Peoria, Ill. on the same day. A total of 48 Illinois PGA Professionals from both the Section and Chapter participated in the 2022 event and played up to 90 holes to support the benefiting children’s charities.
Illinois PGA Professionals teamed up to make 1,268 birdies and raised funds to benefit children’s charities including the Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, JDRF Illinois Chapter, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana, OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria, Hospital Sister Health System of Illinois, and the Illinois PGA Foundation. The total funds raised from each event will be divided equally among the corresponding charities for each of the Section and Chapter events.
“This event is circled on our members’ calendars every year as they look forward to playing golf to help children’s charities and try and achieve new fundraising goals they set for themselves,” said Carrie Williams, Executive Director of the Illinois PGA and Illinois PGA Foundation. “Every year we are so impressed with our PGA Professionals and their supporters as they continue to raise the bar for this event. We are beyond excited to announce that our Professionals and their extremely generous and supportive donors hit a new fundraising record in 2022.”
This year, Illinois PGA Foundation supporters Love Tito’s and Harris Golf Cars contributed to the total amount raised with charitable donations. Love Tito’s matched the first $5,000 raised at the Section’s Birdies for Charity event, and Harris Golf Cars provided a $900 flat donation to the Section’s event.
“We are very thankful to Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Harris Golf Cars for their generosity in donating to this year’s Birdies for Charity,” said Williams. “Their commitment to supporting the Foundation and its charitable purpose of promoting positive community development for youth in Illinois through the game of golf has been greatly appreciated and we look forward to our continued relationships.”
The majority of Professionals played five full rounds of golf (90 holes) at River Forest Country Club. Each participant played a minimum of four rounds (72 holes). At the Chapter event, all participants completed four rounds (72 holes) as well.
“I think this has become an event that everyone involved looks forward to,” said Chris Gumbach, Head PGA Professional at River Forest Country Club and event co-chair. “The number of birdies made and amount of money raised continues to grow each year and I think that shows the determination and dedication we have as an Association to this event and to the benefiting charities.”
Paul Schlimm, Jr. (Chicago Highlands Club) carded the most birdies at River Forest Country Club, totaling 46, and raised more than $20,000 this year. Nick Gonneville (Bob O’Link Golf Club) led the way in money raised at the Section event totaling 26 birdies to raise over $42,000.
Meanwhile, at the CIPGA Birdies for Charity event, Nick Taute (Country Club of Decatur) carded 34 birdies in 72 holes leading the Chapter in birdies made for the fourth straight year. Scott Brownfield (Country Club of Peoria) raised over $18,000 making 27 birdies and leading the way in money raised the Chapter event.
Birdies for Charity was created in 2011 when Travis Johns (Medinah Country Club) brought the concept with him from the North Texas PGA Section and proposed it to the Illinois PGA Section Board. At the time, Gumbach was the sponsorship chairman and immediately thought this type of event was just the kind of community involvement program the Section and its Members needed to rally around.
About the Illinois PGA/Illinois PGA Foundation
The Illinois Section of the PGA of America is a professional organization serving the men and women golf professionals in northern and central Illinois who are the recognized experts in growing, teaching and managing the game of golf. The Illinois PGA is responsible for the administration of competitive golf tournaments, educational opportunities, support programs and growth of the game initiatives. With over 840 members and apprentices, the Illinois PGA is one of the 41 regional Sections that comprise the PGA of America. The Illinois PGA Foundation focuses its community efforts on promoting the goodwill and growth of the game with an emphasis on activities that benefit youth. Foundation initiatives include: GolfWorks Illinois, Youth-based Scholarship Funds and the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame. For more information about the Illinois PGA and the Illinois PGA Foundation, please visit www.ipga.com and join us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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Illinois PGA Communications