Illinois PGA Section Professionals Present Birdies for Charity Checks to Benefiting Charities

Dec 5, 2017

GLENVIEW, Ill. – December 5, 2017 – “The more birdies we make, the more money we raise for charity.” That’s what was on the minds of 35 Illinois PGA Professionals when they participated in the 7th annual Birdies for Charity fundraising event, an initiative of the Illinois PGA Foundation, earlier this year on Labor Day. And they delivered. The pros made 670 birdies and raised a record $280,000 which was split among the four benefiting charities – Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, JDRF and the Illinois PGA Foundation – and turned over during official check presentation ceremonies yesterday. Each organization received $66,390.
With generous pledges from friends, family, colleagues and club members, this year’s effort pushed the seven-year fundraising event total to $1.18 million. Birdies for Charity involves Illinois PGA Professionals playing golf for the day at River Forest Country Club in Elmhurst with one goal in mind: make as many birdies as possible in 72 holes of play.
“Birdies for Charity allows us to do what we do best – play golf – and raise significant funds for these four deserving charities,” said Chris Gumbach, event co-chair and host PGA Professional at River Forest Country Club. “As PGA Professionals, we live and work in the communities we serve and want to give back and support organizations that do so much for children.”
Co-chair, Travis Johns, Director of Instruction at Medinah Country Club, brought the Birdies for Charity event idea with him from the North Texas PGA Section where he had previously worked and proposed it to the Illinois PGA 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.

“We are grateful for the long-standing support from the Illinois PGA and for including us in this amazing event,” said Mimi K. Crabtree, JDRF Illinois Executive Director. “The $200,000 dollars raised over the last seven years have brought us closer to realizing our shared dream of a world without type 1 diabetes for the 1.25 million Americans currently living with the disease.”
“PGA Professionals are a dedicated group and we are fortunate to have such outstanding members in the Illinois Section who recognize the importance of giving back to the community,” said Carrie Williams, Executive Director of the Illinois PGA Section and Foundation. “Birdies for Charity is one of the many ways our members give back to the community throughout the year.”
Event co-chairs, Gumbach and Johns, were joined by longtime Birdies for Charity participants Rich Dukelow (Medinah CC), Jeff Pajula (Stonewall Orchard GC), Eric Hoff (Bryn Mawr CC) as well as Williams and Kathy Kreft, Assistant Executive Director of the Illinois PGA Section, at the check presentation ceremonies.
For more information about Birdies for Charity and to make a donation, please visit
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.