A few days ago I completed my third marathon. No, it was not a 26.2 mile run (that will happen in January). Instead it was the third annual Gateway PGA Golf Day 100 hole marathon. With this event, Gateway PGA Professionals play 100 holes of golf in one day while raising money to support local charities. From the inception of this event it has been one of my favorites and the one event I make certain to play each year. This year my pace of play was a bit slow as it took me about 6 1/2 hours to finish all 100 holes! Regardless of how fast or slow I played, this is a wonderful event and one I always look forward to. Each of the charities that benefit from the efforts of our section's PGA Professionals are special to all of us for a variety of reasons. We tend to connect with one or two of them and make it a point to raise as much money as possible to help some of our favorite charities.
Shortly after the completion of this year's event on August 15, the funds raised will be distributed to Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital, Hospice of Southern Illinois, Gateway PGA Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, Quincy Area Golf in Schools, and Kids Harbor Child Advocacy Center. A relatively small group of PGA Professionals participating in one golf event will positively impact thousands of lives throughout large portions of Missouri and Illinois. I am very proud to be a part of an event that creates such a tremendous amount of good for so many simply by hitting a golf ball a few times. Want to see how PGA Professionals are improving lives through our game? Talk to Gideon Smith, PGA, in Quincy, IL, about the number of kids he has introduced to golf through his in school program. Or contact Paul Leahy, PGA, about the junior golf program at the Lake of the Ozarks. Maybe you are like me and have had a family member spend the final few days of their life in hospice care. Simply put, golf is doing great things for thousands of people in the Gateway PGA Section and this event is a big part of why that is possible.
There is one other way that I experience the impact this event has. Through my involvement at Ranken Jordan I get to be a part of the golf program there and teach some amazing kids how to play golf regardless of the complex medical issue they are fighting. I mentioned that one of the charities supported by PGA Golf Day is the Gateway PGA Foundation. Through the generosity of the Foundation, the golf program at Ranken Jordan has not cost the hospital a cent. All of the equipment has been donated by the Foundation and 100% of the PGA Professionals' time is on a volunteer basis. This is something I am very, very proud to be able to say. The golf program at Ranken Jordan is improving the lives of the kids, helping them heal faster, and through PGA Golf Day, we are also donating money each year to the hospital. There is still time to donate by clicking HERE.
Playing 100 holes of golf in one day may sound like a very daunting task to some. However I can tell you from experience that it is not as tough as you may think. Yes I got fatigued while playing and yes I was a bit sore the next day. Each year the fatigue and soreness is there and as I get older I am sure it will only get worse. But each year I will proudly be a part of PGA Golf Day as we raise money for all of the great charities. Why is this? Because it is a very simple way for me to give back to those who made my mother's final few days as comfortable as possible and it also provides an incredible hospital with a small donation to help very special kids get their lives back.