Discs will fly across York County in 2019 when hundreds of competitors from around the globe converge for the Amateur Disc Golf World Championships, a week-long major event sponsored by the Professional Disc Golf Association.
The event is expected to drive more than $1 million in estimated economic benefits to the region, according to numbers provided by the York County Convention and Visitors Bureau (YCCVB).
It's the first time the event will be held in York County. It will feature top qualified amateurs, both male and female, competing across several age divisions. The event will run from July 20-27, 2019.
The YCCVB expects as many as 1,800 competitors and spectators from outside the area to attend. The YCCVB said participants will come from across the United States, as well as countries such as Finland, Japan, Australia, Brazil and other international locations.
Supported by a $10,000 York County tourism grant, the YCCVB’s Sport York team and the Gifford Pinchot Disc Golf Club partnered to bid on the event.
Chas Ford, a member of the local club, will serve as co-tournament director. He has served in leadership roles for both the 2008 PDGA Pro/Am Worlds in Michigan and the 2015 Pro Worlds in Pittsburgh.
“South-central Pennsylvania has a unique blend of beautifully designed and well-maintained courses that will challenge players of all ages and leave a lasting impression on every competitor,” Ford said in a news release from YCCVB. “Our local club is committed to promoting the sport of disc golf, and we’re proud to play a part in bringing this marquee event to York County. PDGA majors offer an opportunity to not only introduce visitors to York County, but also grow a sport everyone can enjoy.”
Using area courses: The PDGA will use disc golf courses at Codorus State Park, Gifford Pinchot State Park, Codorus Township Park, Muddy Run and Heritage Hills Golf Resort and Conference Center.
Similar in concept to traditional golf, disc golf is played with a disc instead of a ball. Competitors must throw their disc from a tee area to a marked target, accruing “strokes” along the way. The fewer strokes needed to reach the target, the better a competitor’s score.
“In addition to York County’s excellent selection of disc golf courses, the PDGA also appreciated the tremendous outpouring of community support from York County,” said Michael Downes, PDGA events manager, in the news release. “The Gifford Pinchot Disc Golf Club provides an experienced, on-the-ground team to help coordinate the event, while the (YCCVB) proved instrumental in compiling a bid that ensured the 2019 world championships will be a success. We’re thrilled to bring one of the majors back to Pennsylvania in 2019.”
Beating out five other bidders: Previous host locations include Quad Cities, Iowa, and Madison, Wisconsin. Charlotte, North Carolina, will host the event in 2018. York County beat out five other destinations to land the 2019 event.
“This is an opportunity to position York County as a premier destination for a growing sport that’s accessible to people all over the world,” said Laura Gurreri, sales director for the YCCVB, in the news release. “In just the past five years, the number of PDGA-sanctioned events and leagues has more than doubled. We’re tapping into this market by hosting a major event and believe a successful world championships will position York County as a destination for disc golf for years to come.”
Participants will range in age from 16-80.
“Hosting youth sports offers the greatest return on investment, considering the compounding economic potential for our community," said Mark Sindicich, chair of the YCCVB’s board of directors. "Youth athletes have the greatest opportunities to return as visitors, students and residents, ensuring York County’s vitality for years to come."
For more information about the PDGA and the sport of disc golf, visit www.pdga.com.
Information and quotes for this story were provided by the York County Convention and Visitors Bureau.