The Professional Disc Golf Association recently announced the 2019 PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships will be held in and around Peoria, 167 miles south of Chicago.
The 2019 Pro World Championships is expected to bring 300 players and up to 5,000 spectators to the Peoria area. Global player representation is expected, as the last three professional world championships have had competitors from 10 or more countries. The 2017 Professional World Championships Parade of Nations included players from Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.
Up to three courses in Central Illinois will likely be used for this event, including Northwood Park in Morton and Lake Eureka in Eureka.
“The PDGA is very pleased to come to the Peoria area for the 2019 PDGA Professional World Championships,” said PDGA Events Manager Mike Downes. “(Tournament Director) Nate Heinold and his staff of the Ledgestone Insurance Open have consistently embodied the principles employed by the PDGA and we are excited and confident in their ability to host an outstanding major event.”
PDGA Executive Director Joe Chargualaf echoed Downes’ sentiments. “Nate Heinold and his team submitted a beautiful proposal to host this prestigious event. After a thorough review, it was recognized that Peoria was an excellent venue to host the Professional World Championships in 2019. The team there has spent an incredible amount of time and effort perfecting their craft as tournament operators and event hosts, and we are extremely confident in their ability to produce a memorable experience for all who attend.”
Heinold and the Peoria Frisbee Club have helped make considerable improvements to the infrastructure of disc golf courses in Central Illinois, and their efforts have put the Peoria area on the map for premier disc golf. One such example of this is the Ledgestone Insurance Open, which in seven years in the Peoria area has grown to become the most lucrative event in the history of professional disc golf.
“It is an honor to be asked to host the Professional Disc Golf Association’s World Championship,” Heinold said. “This has been something I have been trying to achieve for four years, and to see it finally happen is incredibly exciting. We expect to challenge the players to the greatest test of the year and will offer them the richest disc golf tournament in the history of the sport. Peoria is a great place to visit and recreate. We have an ever-budding disc golf scene here and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to host this premier PDGA event.”
The PDGA is the international governing body for disc golf and sanctions more than 3,500 tournaments in 49 states and 29 countries each year for professional and amateur disc golfers.
The PDGA reports the sport of disc golf is at an all-time high in terms of membership. In 2016, there were 35,662 active PDGA members and experienced the largest annual increase of members in the 40-year history of the organization.
“It is because of the dedication and commitment displayed by communities such as Peoria that the PDGA continues to grow at an astonishing rate,” Chargualaf said. “We hold our relationship with this staff and community in the highest regard, and we look forward to our return to Peoria in August of 2019.”