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Two International Events Moving into West Michigan for Sports Action

10 Aug, 2017


While the 2017 State Games of America is over, the region continues to attract sports tournaments this summer – this time drawing athletes from around the globe. West Michigan will host both the 2017 International Softball Congress (ISC) Men’s World Tournament and the 2017 PDGA Professional Masters Disc Golf World Championships Aug. 12-19, attracting a cumulative 1,000 athletes from 17 countries who will book 3,000 hotel room nights and generate $2.2 million in estimated economic impact.

“We’re on a streak when it comes to hosting prestigious national and international sporting events, from last week’s State Games of America to this week’s two international tournaments,” said Mike Guswiler, president of the West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) who bid on and won both events. “It’s a testament to West Michigan’s stellar athletic facilities and visitor hospitality that we continue to attract tournaments of this caliber that are being enjoyed by an international audience.”

2017 ISC Men’s World Tournament: The International Softball Congress hosts its 71st annual ISC Men’s World Tournament of fastpitch softball at the Art Van Sports Complex, 3300 10 Mile Rd NE in Rockford, featuring 53 teams and approximately 800 players from 15 countries and 22 states. Countries represented to date include Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Denmark, Mexico, Spain and Venezuela, in addition to the United States and Canada.

The ticketed event will generate almost $2 million in estimated economic impact, with athletes and families booking 2,500 hotel room nights. And while the tournament was in Saginaw in 1981 and Midland in 2010 and 2012, this is the first time it will be held in West Michigan.

“This tournament is considered the elitist of elite in men’s fastpitch softball – it’s the tournament that fastpitch teams want to get into and play to win,” said Larry Fisher, executive director of the International Softball Congress which promotes and organizes fastpitch club team events. “Michigan has a lot of fastpitch teams in the state, which is something we look for when selecting our next location. Plus the Art Van Sports Complex is a beautiful facility – we’re looking forward to bringing the tournament there.”

Week and day passes can be purchased to watch the tournament, with week passes at $20 for children (11 to 17 years) and seniors, and $30 for adults. Day passes are $4 for children and seniors, and $6 for adults. Children 10 and younger are free. A beer garden is open daily 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., with the exception of Sunday when it opens at noon. Tournament information, including a daily schedule, can be found at 2017iscgr.com.

2017 PDGA Professional Masters Disc Golf World Championships

The PDGA Professional Masters Disc Golf World Championships takes place at multiple courses in Kent County, with Riverside Park at 2001 Monroe Ave. NE as the main course. The free event will attract almost 200 of the world’s best professional competitors at 40 years and older from across the United States and Canada plus three other countries, and generate approximately $275,000 in direct visitor spending.

In addition to Riverside Park that also will host the finals Aug. 19, the championship will be played at courses across Kent County including Black Falcon in Kent City, Blue Gill in Wayland, Grand Rapids Rotary Park in Belmont, Earl Brewer Park in Byron Center and Fallasburg Park in Lowell. Spectators can watch the free event at one of the courses or via video at pdga.com/2017mastersworlds. A daily schedule can be found at pdga.com/2017mastersworlds/schedule/course.

“The PDGA is thrilled to showcase the community of Grand Rapids during this event,” said PDGA Events Manager Mike Downes. “The River City Disc Golf Club and West Michigan Sports Commission have consistently embodied the principles employed by the PDGA, and we are excited and confident in their ability to host an outstanding Masters event.”

The PDGA is the professional organization and governing body for the disc golf sport, sanctioning competitive events for men and women from novice to professional. The PDGA created a PDGA Masters World Championships for the first time in 2017 separate from its annual PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships to allow more qualified players to compete. The PDGA Masters World Championships is hosted by local organizing committee River City Disc Golf LLC, with members from multiple local disc golf groups. 

“Grand Rapids is a great place to visit and recreate outdoors,” said Tournament Director John Norkowski, a ranked amateur disc golf player from Mount Pleasant. “We have a budding disc golf scene, and we are thrilled to host this premier PDGA event. The event staff, River City Disc Golf Club, WMSC and I are confident that we will put together an unforgettable experience for our players and spectators.”

Grand Rapids and Michigan have long been destinations for professional disc golf, with 256 courses across the state and 15 in Kent County alone. Michigan has the third highest number of PDGA members in the country at 1,868 (behind Texas and California), and the fifth highest number of disc golf courses. Michigan also has on average 162 disc golf events annually, second only to Texas. (Source: PDGA)

About the West Michigan Sports Commission - The West Michigan Sports Commission, a non-profit 501 (c) (3), works to identify, secure and host a diverse level of youth and amateur sporting events to make a positive impact on the region’s economy and quality of life. Celebrating 10 years since its inception in 2007, the WMSC has booked 600 sporting events and tournaments that attracted more than 900,000 athletes and visitors, generating $260 million in direct visitor spending. For more information, visit westmisports.com.

About the International Softball Congress - The International Softball Congress began as the National Softball Congress in 1947 to promote men’s and boys’ fastpitch softball and to provide a series of games that lead up to an ISC championship. A 501(c)(3), the organization became the International Softball Congress in 1957. The ISC organizes, sponsors and promotes fastball softball tournaments for men in club teams, including the annual ISC Men’s World Tournament each August. For more information, visit iscfastpitch.com.

About the Professional Disc Golf Association - Founded in 1976, the Professional Disc Golf Association is the professional membership association and governing body for the disc golf sport. The PDGA is dedicated to the promotion and sustainable growth of disc golf as a globally-recognized competitive sport and recreational activity through player participation, tournament development, course development, spectator participation and public education. For more information, visit pdga.com.

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