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Lynchburg to Host PDGA World Championship in August

05/23/2024 0 Comments

Disc Golf Pros Prepare to Tee Off for PDGA World Championship in Lynchburg

When Lynchburg resident and six-time world champion Paul McBeth suggested that the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) host the 2024 Pro World’s Championship in his hometown, the organization took note.

Held annually since 1982, the PDGA World Championship welcomes both men and women athletes to compete for the title of the world’s best disc golfer.

Nate Heinold, CEO of Ledgestone Disc Golf, organizes disc golf events all over the country. For the Pro Worlds Championship, he looks for one-of-a-kind courses that accommodate a variety of skill sets. After a quick flight to Lynchburg to check out New London Tech and Ivy Hill, Heinold wholeheartedly agreed that the two courses checked all the boxes.

“Designed by McBeth, New London Tech’s course is heavily wooded and easily one of the most challenging courses in the world,” he describes. “Ivy Hill is beautiful, with extreme elevation right at the base of the mountain. It’s a unique property with great views for spectators. Both courses are unique, and both provide a good challenge for the players.”

Lynchburg’s centralized location was a selling point, too. “It’s easy to get here no matter where you live,” says Andrew Marks, sales manager for the Office of Economic Development and Tourism. “We’re about a day’s drive for a third of the population of the United States, for most East of the Mississippi.”

Since the December 2022 announcement that Lynchburg would play host to the 2024 Pro World Championship, the city has prepared for its position on the world stage. “We’re expecting around 350 professional athletes from all over the world, and up to 20,000 spectators over the 4-day event,” Marks says.

Spectators can purchase tickets for the Aug. 21-25 event by visiting the official PDGA website and clicking “tickets”. “Watching disc golf is an incredible experience — especially in person,” says Heinold. “These athletes are the best of the best and can do things that most people cannot do. It’s incredible to watch a disc fly 500 feet through the woods. People get hooked when they see how far and accurate a disc can fly.”

According to Heinold, PDGA growth boomed and disc golf “spiked in value” during the COVID pandemic. “It brought an enormous amount of new disc golfers to the sport because people were looking for outdoor things that didn’t involve team competition,” he says. “Disc golf fit that bill nicely, and people began picking up the sport in droves.”

Another boost came soon after when disc golfer James Conrad beat the number-one player of all time. “In the summer of 2021 at the Disc Golf World Championships, Conrad threw in from 250 feet for a massive upset and the greatest shot in disc golf history,” Heinold says. “The moment was featured by every major sports broadcasting company, went viral, and spawned a documentary.”

With 4,000-5,000 spectators each day visiting Lynchburg for the 2024 event, Marks estimates a $3.48 million economic impact, which includes everything from lodging, food, and beverage to transportation, retail and recreation. “Our goal is to bring the business community together, not only from Lynchburg but also in partnership with Bedford County, so business owners know what to expect and how to prepare in terms of extra foot traffic and additional inventory needs.”

According to Marks, this is the first time any PDGA World Championship event has ever been held in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and he calls this “an absolute win for the City of Lynchburg and the region.”

Not only is the 2024 PDGA Pro Worlds a huge boon for businesses this year, but it also puts Lynchburg in the running for future ProAm tours, an event in which professionals and amateur disc golfers compete on different levels. “It helps solidify Lynchburg and the region as a sports tourism destination,” says Marks.

In terms of repeat tourism, Heinold compares hosting the Pro World Championship to the Olympics. “People want to go back to where the big events were hosted. After watching the events on film, YouTube, or broadcast, they want to play the courses for themselves.”

You can gear up for the PDGA World Championship by playing disc golf around LYH’s courses and parks

The post Lynchburg to Host PDGA World Championship in August appeared first on LYH – Lynchburg Tourism.

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