GLENVIEW, Ill. – December 2, 2016 – Mark Labiak of Plainfield, Ill., was recently elected the 27th President of the Illinois Professional Golfers’ Association of America by members at the Association’s Fall Annual Meeting. Labiak previously served as Vice President from 2015-2016 and Secretary from 2013- 2014.
Labiak, 53, succeeds Jim Opp of Palatine, Ill., who just completed his 15th year at Bonnie Dundee Golf Club in Carpentersville, Ill. Succeeding Labiak as Vice President is Jim Miller, 50, of Bloomington, Ill., who served the past two years as Secretary of the Illinois PGA. Nick Papadakes, 44, of Lake Bluff, Ill., was elected Secretary. In addition, three new members of the Illinois PGA Board of Directors were sworn into office.
Currently in his 19th season as PGA head golf professional at Ruth Lake Country Club in Hinsdale, Ill., Labiak was elected to PGA membership in 1991. He still recalls receiving the phone call from Ruth Lake President, Dan Milligan, in October of 1997, one of his most spectacular career moments. Milligan was to tell him that they would like Labiak to be their next head golf professional.
Labiak previously served as the PGA head golf professional at Joliet (Ill.) Country Club from 1994-1997. He was an assistant golf professional at Exmoor Country Club, in Highland Park, Ill., from 1993-1994 and at Hillcrest Country Club, in Long Grove, Ill., from 1986-1992. and served two separate, three-year terms on the Illinois PGA Board of Directors from 1996-1998 and 2007-2009. He was also the chairman of the Illinois PGA Tournament Committee from 2008-2009. He chaired the Illinois PGA Strategic Planning Committee for the past two years.
Labiak has been nominated four times for the Illinois PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award and ten times for the Illinois PGA Merchandiser of the Year (Private Facility) Award. Since his career began in 1986, Labiak has been named one of the “Top Teachers in State” by Golf Digest nine times. In 2007, he was named to the PGA President’s Council on Growing the Game – a distinguished national honor in the PGA community. He has been a Callaway Master Staff Member twice, from 2005-2010 and 2014-2016. Labiak was one of six Callaway Master Staff Professionals nominated for Master Staff Pro of the Year in 2016.
Born and raised in Joliet, Ill., Labiak got his start in the golf business when he was asked by his best friend, John Platt, to join him in moving at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., to work at PGA National resort. “I quit my job the next day and we loaded up the car,” Labiak recalls of his move to Florida in 1985. One year later, he received a call from PGA professional and Illinois Golf Hall of Famer, Steve Benson, asking him to come home to Chicago and take an assistant professional job at Hillcrest Country Club.
Newly elected Illinois PGA Vice President Jim Miller is the PGA head golf professional at Bloomington (Ill.) Country Club. He earned his membership in the PGA of America in 1993 and previously served as an assistant professional at Sunset Ridge Country Club in Northfield, Ill., and Evanston Golf Club in Skokie, Ill. After five seasons as an assistant at Evanston Golf Club, Miller was promoted to the PGA head golf professional, a position he held for five seasons before accepting the head golf professional position at Bloomington Country Club in 2005.
Always volunteering his time with the Illinois PGA, Miller has served on the Illinois PGA Board of Directors for many years, most recently elected in 2009 and 2012 for three-year terms. From 2003-2004, Miller was the chairman of the Illinois PGA Tournament Committee. Most recently he chaired the Illinois PGA Open Championships Committee, which is responsible for the direction of the Illinois Open and Illinois Senior Open.
Nick Papadakes, PGA head golf professional at Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, Ill., succeed Miller as Secretary of the Illinois PGA. Papadakes is in his second year as the head professional at Onwentsia, after being named to the position in early 2015. He was the head professional at the Old Elm Club in Highland Park, Ill. for eight years prior, and assistant professional at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill. from 2002-2007. Papadakes took the position at Conway Farms from TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedre Beach, Fla., where he worked for seven years. In 2015, Papadakes was honored with the Illinois Section PGA Horton Smith Award, a distinguished recognition for leadership in the area of member education.
The Illinois PGA
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 830 members and apprentices, the Illinois PGA is the 12th largest of the 41 regional entities or “Sections” that comprise the PGA of America.