Illinois PGA Foundation Birdies for Charity Raises $400,000 for Children’s Charities

Sep 18, 2019

GLENVIEW, Ill. – Following last year’s move to Stonebridge Country Club in Aurora due to flooding and unplayable conditions, the Illinois PGA Foundation Birdies for Charity Section fundraiser returned to River Forest Country Club in Elmhurst for its ninth annual event on Monday, September 3. In conjunction with the Section event, the Central Illinois PGA (CIPGA) Chapter held its second Annual Birdies for Charity at Mt. Hawley Country Club in Peoria. A total of 52 Illinois PGA Professionals participated in this year’s events and, together, combined to raise $400,00 bringing the nine-year total amount raised to $1.96 million.  

Illinois PGA Professionals teamed up to make 1,279 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, Crisis Nursery (Urbana), OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria and the Illinois PGA Foundation. The total amount of money raised from each event will be divided equally among the corresponding charities for that event. The American Lung Association and Loyola University Medical Center Burn Unit will also receive a percentage of the money raised.

“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 to achieve new fundraising goals they set for themselves,” said Carrie Williams, Executive Director of the Illinois PGA and Illinois PGA Foundation. “Our Professionals understand that these charities are doing outstanding work in our communities and are committed to raising as much money as they can.”

Despite a heavy downfall of rain that delayed play for about two hours at River Forest Country Club, the majority of the Professionals were still able to get in five full rounds of golf (90 holes). Each participant played a minimum of four rounds (72 holes).

"The rain delay slowed the start of the event this year, but certainly not the desire of the professionals to complete five rounds and raise as much money as possible," said Chris Gumbach, host PGA Professional at River Forest Country Club and event co-chair. "To see our colleagues in the Central Illinois PGA Chapter contribute to the total for the second year in a row just makes this event that much stronger and beneficial to more charities, families and communities."

Andy Mickelson (Mistwood GC) carded the most birdies at River Forest, totaling 43. Bret Burgmeier (Butler National GC) recorded 38 birdies and Garrett Chaussard (Skokie Country) finished with 37. Travis Johns (Medinah CC), event co-chair, Sean McLeod (Medinah CC) and Brian Carroll (The Hawk CC) all made 35 birdies throughout the day.   

Meanwhile, at the CIPGA Birdies for Charity event, Kyle English (Crestwicke CC) and Nick Taute (South Side CC) carded 38 birdies each. Tim Krouse (Effingham CC), CIPGA President, finished right behind the two leaders with 35 birdies.

Chris Gumbach (River Forest Country Club), event co-chair, topped the donation leaderboard at the Section Birdies for Charity event by raising $37,000. Eric Ilic (The Merit Club) was a close second to Gumbach, raising $34,000. In total, 39 Illinois PGA Professional carded 926 birdies and raised $361,000 at the Illinois PGA Birdies for Charity event at River Forest Country Club.

Lance Olson (Champaign CC) was the leader in donations for the CIPGA, raising $12,000. Scott Brownfield (CC of Peoria) was right there with Olson, raising a total of $7,000. The second Annual CIPGA Birdies for Charity event featured 13 Illinois PGA Professionals who combined for 353 birdies and raised $39,000 at Mt. Hawley Country Club. 

Birdies for Charity was created in 2011 when Johns 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. And so, the event was created and continues today. 2020 will mark the 10th Anniversary of Birdies for Charity for the Illinois PGA Section.
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 and join us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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Kevin Quinn
Illinois PGA Communications
708.336.1294 mobile