The Palm Beach County Sports Commission and Keiser University will partner to host the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Women’s Golf National Championship at PGA National Resort & Spa from May 23-26, 2017. The event will be held at the PGA National-Fazio Course, which is the newest course on the PGA National Resort & Spa’s property. The Palm Beach County Sports Commission was awarded the bid to host the NAIA Women’s Golf National Championship for the summer of 2017 and 2018.
A total of 29 teams, consisting of 156 golfers will travel to Palm Beach County in pursuit of a national championship. The NAIA Women’s Golf Championship field consists of 21 automatic qualifying teams (conference champions), eight (8) at-large team selections, and ten (10) individual qualifiers. At-large teams are selected according to the final regular season Coaches Top 25 Poll.
The NAIA Women’s Golf National Championship includes one (1) official practice round (although the teams are allowed to arrive early to play additional practice rounds if they wish) and four (4) days of competition. The tournament features a total of 72 holes of golf with a cut after 54 holes. The field of 29 teams is reduced to 14 teams and the 40 top individual golfers after the cut. The competition format is stroke play. Each team competes with five golfers (minimum of four) and the top four scores posted each day are counted toward the team standings.
Hosting this event is extra special for Palm Beach County. Keiser University owns a rich tradition of collegiate golf and the Seahawks have won the NAIA Women’s Golf National Championship during the past two seasons and three in school history. In 2017, Keiser University has a chance to win a title in its hometown.
The PGA National-Fazio Course opened in November of 2012. Formerly known as the “Haig” course, Fazio is a reinvention of the previous 18-hole course which opened in 1980. The course was originally designed by the Fazio brothers, and the renovations being led by Tom Fazio II. The goal of the renovations was to “modernize” the land. With the renovations came a 70% increase in green surface and moderated tee boxes and bunkers.
The NAIA Women’s Golf National Championship will provide a significant tourism impact to Palm Beach County. In addition to the 144 golfers, this event is expected to bring over 700 students and alumni from across the nation. The event will create a significant level of visitor spending while filling more than 1,300 room nights for Palm Beach County hotels.
Since 1937, the NAIA has administered programs and championships in proper balance with the overall educational experience. In 2000, the NAIA reaffirmed its purpose to enhance the character-building aspects of the sport. Through the Champions of Character program, the NAIA seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership. Currently, the NAIA has 163 members participating in women’s golf.
NAIA Women’s Golf National Championship Schedule:
Saturday, May 20:
Teams/NAIA officials begin arriving, practicing
Sunday, May 21:
Voluntary Practice Rounds
Monday, May 22:
Practice Rounds & Opening Banquet at 6:30pm
Tuesday, May 23:
Opening Round Begins at 7:30am
Wednesday, May 24:
Second Round Begins at 7:30am
Thursday, May 25:
Third Round Begins at 7:30am
Friday, May 26:
Final Round Begins at 7:30 am
The 10th Annual Palm Beach Cup represents one of the largest soccer tournaments that will take place in Florida. The Palm Beach Cup, which is supported by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and produced by the Palm Beach Soccer Academy, will make history by becoming the first amateur sports event to take place at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on May 12-14, 2017. The Palm Beach Cup will utilize five (5) multipurpose fields located on Palm Beach County’s new Major League Baseball (MLB) Spring Training facility. In addition to the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, a variety of other venues host the Palm Beach Cup, such as Florida Atlantic University, Gardens Park, Lilac Park, Mirasol Park, PGA Park, and the Joseph Russo Athletic Complex. In total, 25 soccer fields over 7 different venues throughout Palm Beach County will be utilized to accommodate this tournament.
The large inventory of soccer fields is required to host a record setting number of youth soccer teams participating in the Palm Beach Cup. Over 200 teams and 3,600 athletes from across Florida, the Bahamas, Haiti, and the Cayman Islands will travel to The Palm Beaches. The participating teams will contend for titles in boy’s and girl’s divisions competing in age groups (Under 9 to Under 18).
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission has enjoyed a longstanding partnership with the Palm Beach Soccer Academy. After years of growth, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission’s partnership with the Palm Beach Soccer Academy has transformed the Palm Beach Cup into one of the largest soccer tournaments on the FYSA calendar. The demand for this tournament results in lengthy waiting list for travel teams desiring to play in The Palm Beaches.
The Palm Beach Cup will generate an influx of business to Palm Beach County’s hospitality industry.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recently awarded the Palm Beach County Sports Commission five (5) golf championships that will take place from 2019-2022 at PGA National Resort & Spa. The Palm Beach County Sports Commission partnered with Florida Atlantic University, Palm Beach Atlantic University and Emory University to bid on a variety of NCAA National Championships and Regional Championships. The NCAA received more than 3,000 bid submissions from NCAA member schools, conferences, sports commissions and cities vying to host predetermined rounds for 84 of the NCAA’s 90 championships over the four-year bid cycle.
The NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Regional Championship was awarded to Palm Beach County during the spring of 2022, with Florida Atlantic University serving as co-host. The regional tournament will feature 13 teams comprised of five golfers each as well as 10 individuals. “Palm Beach County is world famous for the sport of golf,” said Pat Chun, FAU’s Vice President and Director of Athletics.
“It’s only fitting to have some of the best collegiate golfers in the nation compete and enjoy everything Palm Beach County has to offer. We are appreciative of the great partnership we have with the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. They continue to be the driving force in bringing championship sports events to our community.”
In partnership with Palm Beach Atlantic University, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission will host the NCAA Division II Women’s Golf National Championship in 2019 and the NCAA Division II Men’s Golf National Championship in 2021. The Women’s Golf National Championship will feature 12 teams and 12 individuals, and the Men’s Golf National Championship will feature 20 teams and 8 individuals.
“Palm Beach County is a premier golf destination and I am thrilled that Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) will be a partner in showcasing one of our country’s most prominent sport tourism venues – PGA National Resort & Spa,” said Carolyn Stone, PBA’s Director of Athletics. “The student athlete experience is at the heart of all NCAA Division II member institutions and I know these championships will provide an incredible opportunity for all participants and spectators. I want to thank the Palm Beach County Sports Commission for preparing an impressive bid package earning our county these NCAA National Championships.”
The NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships will be hosted in 2020, with Emory University (GA) serving as co-host. This will be the first time since 2013 that both the Men’s and Women’s Golf National Championships will be hosted concurrently at the same location. These two championships will feature 62 total teams and 11 individuals. “We are thrilled to partner with PGA National Resort & Spa and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission to host the 2020 NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships,” said Dr. Michael Vienna, Emory University’s Director of Athletics. “Being able to host the men’s and women’s championships simultaneously showcases the premier facility that is PGA National.”
NCAA championship events attract thousands of participants, spectators and families from across the United States, creating invaluable exposure and generating enormous, positive impact to hotels, restaurants and attractions throughout all of Palm Beach County. “The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is thrilled to partner with these first-class universities in hosting these NCAA National Championships, as it showcases Palm Beach County as an elite sports destination,” said George Linley, Executive Director of Palm Beach County Sports Commission. “Very few communities have the privilege of hosting a collegiate national championship and we are honored to be hosting five over a four-year period.”
For nearly two weeks in June, Palm Beach County will become an assembly for our nation’s heroes and first responders. Police, firefighters, military, federal agents, and emergency medical personnel will gather to play sports and compete in the First Responder Games. The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is partnering with the United States Firefighter Games to bring this event to Palm Beach County for the second time in four years.
The First Responder Games, scheduled for June 5-17, is an Olympic-style competition that will take place at various sports venues located throughout Palm Beach County. This multi-sport event will attract over 2,000 first responders from across the nation competing in more than 30 different sports, including soccer, flag football, softball, golf, basketball, ice hockey, fishing, archery, tennis, swimming, volleyball, bowling, billiards, darts, racquetball and cycling.
Multiple venues throughout Palm Beach County will be utilized to accommodate the variety of sporting events. Seminole Palms Park, John Prince Park, Okeeheelee Park, Buttonwood Park, Palm Beach Skate Zone, Breakers West Country Club, PGA National, Madison Green Country Club, Green Acres Bowl, and several golf courses will serve as anchor facilities. The Hilton Palm Beach Airport is the host hotel and will serve as a venue to several indoor sports.
The First Responder Games and the influx of visitors will create a major tourism and economic impact for Palm Beach County. The event is expected to generate a significant rise in hotel room nights and visitor spending. The Palm Beach County Sports Commission hosted the Florida Firefighter Games and the First Responder Games during the April and August of 2014, respectively. Combined, these events created over $1.5 million of economic impact while creating more than 2,000 hotel room nights for Palm Beach County’s hospitality industry.
“The Florida Firefighter Games will be a very special occasion for Palm Beach County. While this multi-sports festival will attract a surge of new visitors, hotel room nights, and new revenues for our destination, we also have the privilege of hosting an event to celebrate our finest heroes and first responders who dedicate their lives to public service”, said George Linley, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.
For more information on the First Responder Games, visit www.firstrespondergames.com
Kris Pursell, Director of Event Operations for the Palm Beach County Sports Commission has been awarded the National Association of Sports Commissions’ (NASC) Certified Sports Event Executive (CSEE) accreditation. The award was presented at the annual 2017 NASC Symposium held in Sacramento, California. Kris joined the Palm Beach County Sports Commission in 2009, and has over 35 years of experience in the fields of event development, facility management, corporate hospitality and sales.
Since its inception, the NASC has been dedicated to raising the standards of professionalism in the industry, and established their own branded certification program. The program is structured so that recipients can earn up to eight (8) credits per year either online through Ohio University or at live courses once or twice a year at meetings of the Association. To achieve this status, 32 hours of credits must be earned, and the recipient must have a minimum of five (5) years’ experience in the sports tourism industry. The courses are designed with cutting edge information about all topics relevant to the sport tourism industry designed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of daily operations.