By Staff, PGATOUR.com
You’ll have to excuse JD Drimel for being surprised. Thrilled. Possibly a bit in shock, too.
The CEO of the Minnesota Section of the PGA of America had just heard they were receiving a $50,000 donation from a former junior participant – PGA TOUR player Tom Hoge.
“It’s a special person who has success and remembers their roots and wants to give back,” Drimel said.
Hoge’s roots are with the Minnesota Section PGA. He grew up in nearby Fargo, North Dakota, which was served by – and still is – the section when he was a kid. He and his now-wife, Kelly, met playing the circuit together as junior golfers.
“The fact that Tom and Kelly both played in our junior golf events growing up made it extra special,” Drimel said.
Hoge had the opportunity to give back to the Minnesota Section PGA thanks to the RSM Birdies for Love competition. He tied for first place to win $300,000 through the charitable giving, on-course competition over the 2021-22 PGA TOUR season.
After discussing the donation with Hoge – who is in Minnesota this week, playing in the PGA TOUR’s 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities – the Minnesota Section PGA landed on a way to use the funds to help offset junior golfer costs for their Minny and Prep Tour Members (ages 7-12). In 2022, more than 500 junior golfers received one free entry into a 9-hole Minny or Prep Tour event.
“With Tom’s generosity, we can continue to pay for one event again for these players, new and returning, for four years,” Drimel said.
The Minnesota Section PGA covers Minnesota, most of North and South Dakota, and parts of Wisconsin. The junior golf series boasts more than 2,000 members throughout its section.
“With (Hoge’s) support, junior golfers of all abilities, backgrounds, both in city and rural areas, can enjoy an event on your behalf,” Drimel said. “Thank you for your support, for truly growing the game and for giving back.”
Through RSM Birdies Fore Love, the top three players who accumulated the most birdies (or better) during fall season tournaments are awarded with $300,000, $150,000, and $50,000 respectively for donations to the players’ choice of children- and/or family-focused charitable organizations. These funds are part of the $4.8 million total raised through RSM’s employee-led Birdies Fore Love program.
In addition to the Minnesota Section PGA, Hoge split his remaining contributions between the North Texas Section PGA, Gigi’s Playhouse (in Fargo, North Dakota), Cullen Children’s Foundation (Fargo, North Dakota) and Cook Children’s Hospital (Fort Worth, Texas).