A round of miniature golf at bars in Blue Island, all in the name of charity, has become a tradition.
And this year, organizers hope to raise even more money, with Beverly/Morgan Park businesses now supporting the effort.
The fifth annual “Putts and Pints,” in which bars design challenging and creative miniature-golf holes, will be held at nine bars in Blue Island on Saturday, June 8, from noon-6 p.m.
Proceeds will benefit Blue Cap, a non-profit organization in Blue Island that supports people with special needs.
After raising $3,600 last year, supporters hope to donate $10,000 this year.
Kristin Vanderbilt, of Beverly, has organized the fundraiser from its beginning, and she said the participating taverns have taken their holes “to the next level” in creating a unique event.
“I really like going around and seeing them, because most of them, I feel like every year, they get better and better,” Vanderbilt said. “That’s one of my favorite things about the event is seeing how far the bars go, and they rarely disappoint me.”
The cost to play is $20. Participating bars include Double Play Saloon, 13011 S. Western Ave., where the event begins and ends, as well as Fanning’s Riverside Taproom, 13351 S. Aulwurm Dr.; Blue Island Beer Co., 13357 S. Olde Western Ave.; Natural Law Cocktail Club and Eatery, 13404 S. Olde Western Ave.; Rock Island Public House, 13328 S. Olde Western Ave.; Pub Time, 12924 S. Western Ave.; Harry’s Long Bar, 13115 S. Western Ave.; Chris’ Northside Inn, 12431 S. Western Ave.; and Tank’s Pub, 12401 S. Western Ave.
Vanderbilt credited Blue Island's Brian Fee for coming up with the idea after seeing a similar event in Dayton, Ohio.
She now teams up with Tommy Cheatle, owner of Double Play, to run the event.
Some of Cheatle’s friends have family members who have benefited from Blue Cap, and Vanderbilt is close with Blue Cap staff.
Double Play’s hole has featured a hole with two bean-bag boards in recent years, with players putting their ball over ramps leading up and over the boards, or through a small gap between them.
The bar also once incorporated a “Plinko” theme, a nod to the game on “The Price is Right,” and last year, Rock Island Public House built a blue bridge, reminiscent of those stretching across the Cal Sag Channel in Blue Island.
Another bar once lit off bottle rockets after a player sunk a hole in one, similar to Guaranteed Rate Field setting off fireworks after a White Sox home run.
The fundraiser includes raffles, and participants can vote for their favorite hole.
Last year’s Putts and Pints included about 120 players, three times as many as the earlier events, and Vanderbilt credited Cheatle for building its popularity.
“That man is a machine,” Vanderbilt said, “and he’s so passionate about this event.”
Businesses in Beverly, Morgan Park and Mt. Greenwood have become active in supporting the event, with Tom Walsh, a Blue Island native who is a financial advisor with Edward Jones, 3201 W. 111th St., in Mt. Greenwood, providing medals for winners.
To raise more money this year, businesses can sponsor holes, similar to traditional golf outings, and other community businesses have stepped up.
Vanderbilt credited Dave Kriedemann, owner of O’Rourke’s Office pub in Morgan Park, for sponsoring a hole. He quickly jumped on board, she said.
“It was, ‘What do you need from me?’” Vanderbilt said.
Paul McGreal & Co., an accounting firm in Morgan Park, is also supporting the event.
Just like last year, “Putts and Pints” will be featured on the WCIU TV program “The Jam,” to be broadcast on Thursday, June 6, at 6 a.m.
According to its website, Blue Cap supports over 100 people with adult day services, with 16 employed at 11 sites, and 30 volunteering at two locations.
The non-profit group introduced a Specialized Program in April that allows clients with autism or sensory issues to be cared for in a quieter, more personal setting.
Vanderbilt said she has seen up-close the positive impact Blue Cap makes.
Raising $10,000 this year is “a very lofty goal,” she said, but it’s a challenge she happily takes on for a good cause.
“I respect everything that Blue Cap is doing,” she said.
For more information, email Vanderbilt at email@example.com.