Section Members unleash Birdie Binge; Raise $165,655 for NOPGA Foundation

By Tim Rogers
NOPGA Contributor

Avon, Ohio: On a day and during a game in which birdies meant considerably more than just a circled number on a scorecard and an avenue to victory, Section members performed in record-setting fashion.

On Monday at Avon Oaks Country Club, birdies meant monetary donations to the NOPGA Section Foundation, the arm of the Section that provides hope and opportunities for those in need and the NOPGA members responded splendidly.

The fourth Smucker’s Birdies & Charity event raised a record $165,655.50, with the J.M. Smucker Company providing the impetus with a $10,000 sponsorship donation.
The total erased the previous record of $130,000 raised in 2022 and far exceeded the 2023 goal of $150,000.

It was a perfect day for golf over Avon Oaks’ immaculate conditions. By the end of the day 777 birdies had been made.
“I am extremely proud of our PGA Professionals and their dedication to our NOPGA Section Foundation and growing the game in Northern Ohio,” said NOPGA Executive Director David Griffith. “The money raised today will impact six deserving charities as well as help expand our foundation’s programs.”

For the last several weeks section members solicited pledges from their respective memberships based on the number of birdies recorded. Flat donations were also made.
More than 500 individual donors from 24 clubs and facilities participated.

For the second year in a row the Kirtland Country Club team of Head Professional Mark Bixler and Director of Instruction Mike Pickett and Shady Hollow Country Club assistant Ian Haidle were the stars of the show.
Through several considerable pledges by Kirtland members Bixler and Pickett raised a whopping $46,986.00, exceeding the $25,420 they raised in 2022.
“It’s been a privilege to help support such great causes,” said Bixler. “The support from the Kirtland membership has been tremendous year after year. I feel very lucky to be able to represent Kirtland and help make an impact with my fellow PGA Professionals.”

Glenmoor Country Club head professional Meghann Glass-Stem was second with $14,241.00 in pledges and the Barrington Country Club team of Head Professional Mark Ekstrand, Director of Instruction Todd Casabella and Mark Sierak, co-owner of Optimus Golf and owner of 3 Peat Promotions, were third with $13,950.00.

Haidle led everyone by making 35 birdies. Adam Lewicki, Head Professional at Portage Country Club, was second with 34 birdies and Joe Meglen, Director of Player Development at Stonewater Golf Club, was third with 33.
A total of 24 member clubs and facilities, represented by 55 NOPGA members, participated. Other clubs and facilities will conduct satellite events on their own due to scheduling conflicts.

The facilities participating on Monday were:
Kirtland Country Club
Glenmoor Country Club
Barrington Golf Club
Portage Country Club
Firestone Country Club
Stonewater Golf club
Red Tail Golf Club
Avon Oaks Country Club
Club Walden
The Country Club
Shady Hollow Country Club
Chagrin Valley /Northstar
The Golf Dome
Lakewood Country Club
Fairlawn Country Club
Canterbury Golf Club
Eagle Creek Golf Club
Pepper Pike Club
Westbrook Country Club
Quail Hollow Country Club
Trumbull Country Club
Congress Lake Club
Westwood Country Club
1899 Golf

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