The Yakima Valley Sports Commission is a division of Yakima Valley Tourism. Our primary mission is economic development of the Yakima Valley through sports. The goal of our staff is to provide exceptional customer service to sports organizers who stage their events in the Yakima Valley.
Sozo Sports of Central Washington is developing the Yakima Sports Complex, a championship level indoor and outdoor sports facility with multi-use grass and synthetic turf playing fields to benefit a variety of youth and adult sports in the Yakima Valley.
The team at Sozo Sports is strongly committed to promoting youth involvement in sports, regardless of background or ability level. The Yakima Sports Complex will be a safe place that encourages physical activity, develops confidence, teamwork and discipline.
The City of Yakima is a partner in the fifty-eight (58) acre park. The city will own forty acres, and Sozo Sports will maintain and operate the fields that are built there. Sozo will own and operate a future 75,000 square foot indoor facility that will include sports turf fields, multi-use basketball courts, management offices and concessions. Located at 2200 South 36th Avenue, in Yakima, it’s definitely worth a drive to check it out. For directions and more information, go to https://sozosports.net.
There’s no denying it, the growth of disc golf has made America take notice. More and more people pick up discs and head to a local course every year. And that means disc golf has become serious business for retailers and a must-have activity for public parks.
“Disc golf is not a fad. It has grown organically. But it’s not a fad,” says Russell Schwarz, of Innova Disc Golf, a leading manufacturer of disc golf equipment.
Played much like traditional golf in terms of rules, scoring, and etiquette; disc golf differs by throwing a specialized plastic disc off the tee and eventually putting out into a chain-catching metal basket.
Disc golf also departs from traditional golf in its affordability to play and the relative low cost to install a course. Coverage of some of the biggest disc golf events reached 82 million cable households last year in disc golf’s first foray into regular cable access, according to Disc Golf Planet, who produced the shows and partnered with the Beach Sports Network to bring them to cable TV. This year that number increased to 95 million.
Known as the ‘Super Bowl’ of disc golf, The United States Disc Golf Championship (USDGC) is one of those events featured on cable. The event, with its beautiful course, high payout, and strong following is proof of how far the sport has come. Looking back just five years, the growth is obvious. At the end of 2013, 4,060 total disc golf courses were listed with the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA), which is a 48% increase from the end of 2008.
Innova’s Schwarz, who has been involved in disc golf for 35 years, says there’s practically a course being installed every week. “They are not going in because there’s no demand,” said Schwarz, who designs courses.
A sport that was once dismissed, has now matured into a thriving sport with a formidable disc golf industry behind it. There’s even a pro tour where big name players like Paul McBeth and Richard Wysocki battle for the cash prizes, which also continue to grow. The 2013 pro tour purse was $2,533,450, up 27% from 2008.
Annually offering one of the sweetest pro purses is the USDGC. This year’s pro payment will reach about $50,000, with first place getting a cool $8,000.
With Disc Golf Planet’s live internet broadcasts of large tournaments like the USDGC, disc golf fans can follow their favorite players from home.
“Never before have we seen this kind of following for professional disc golf. More people than ever know the competitive storylines and are supremely interested in how things shake out at the USDGC,” said USDGC Event Director Jonathan Poole. Pros make up an exciting segment of disc golfers, but the overwhelming majority of golfers are novices playing with just a few discs in their hands. The PDGA estimates that more than a million people regularly play the game, including many families.
Is disc golf just a fad? Innova Disc Golf Sales Manager, Ryan Baker feels that “All signs point to continued long term growth for disc golf. Not only are more courses going in, but they are better funded. More professionally designed courses are being installed with stronger relationships between the disc golf community and the park and recreation folks,” said Baker.
*This article, in part, appeared on the United States Disc Golf Championship website and was edited and condensed.