GLENVIEW, Ill. – On Labor Day evening as Birdies for Charity event co-chair and Host Pro, Chris Gumbach, watched the skies open and the rain-soaked River Forest Country Club go from playable to unplayable in a matter of minutes, he wasn’t sure if the 8th annual Birdies for Charity fundraising event could be played the next day as scheduled.
Enter Andrew Stevens, Head PGA Professional at Stonebridge Country Club in Aurora and the club’s Board, who offered up its course as an alternate site and the event was saved. And, the Pros took to the new course like fish to water and set new records for birdies made and dollars raised.
Illinois PGA Professionals made 1,014 birdies to raise $378,000 to benefit children’s charities including Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, JDRF Illinois Chapter, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana, Illinois PGA Foundation and bonus charities Cal’s Angels and Folds of Honor. The eight-year event total now stands at nearly $1.4 million raised.
“I am so proud of our members and donors for all they’ve done over the years to make this event successful,” said Gumbach. “From one moment of not knowing where we were going to play to getting the offer from Stonebridge to play there was just amazing. And, many pros really pushed themselves this year and played up to 90 holes to raise as much money as possible.”
Previously, Birdies for Charity were played over 72 holes and this year Pros could play up to 90 holes. With seven more Pros participating than last year plus more holes to play, the Pros made 344 more birdies and increased the amount raised by $108,000 over last year at River Forest Country Club when the Pros made 670 birdies and raised nearly $270,000.
“Each year, our membership looks forward to participating in this event and raises the bar,” said Carrie Williams, Executive Director of the Illinois PGA Section and Illinois PGA Foundation. “And our Illinois PGA Professionals enjoy doing what they do best – play golf – to benefit charities that are doing outstanding work in our communities.”
The hot, humid conditions did not slow down several professionals who played some incredible golf throughout the day. Garrett Chaussard (Skokie CC) and Brian Carroll (Royal Hawk CC) led the way with 38 birdies each while Curtis Malm (White Eagle GC) and Sean McLeod (Medinah CC) carded 37 and Adam Schumacher (Indian Hill Club) made 36.
Birdies for Charity was created in 2011 when Travis Johns (Medinah CC), event co-chair, brought the concept with him from the North Texas PGA Section where he had previously worked and proposed it to the Illinois Section Board. At the time, Gumbach was sponsorship chairman and immediately thought it 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.
For more information about the event and to make a donation, please visit ipgabirdiesforcharity.com.
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.www.ipga.com and join us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Illinois PGA Communications