By Nikki Sherrill, Communications & Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Women’s Golf will have a new home for the 2017 and 2018 national championships, as Keiser University (Fla.) and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. have been selected as the new hosts for the next two seasons. The event will be held at the PGA National-Fazio Course, with the 2017 championship occurring May 23-26 and May 22-25 during 2018. Keiser and Palm Beach County Sports Commission are currently hosts of the NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship, which began in 2014.
“The NAIA is very excited to announce our partnership with Keiser University and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission,” said NAIA President/CEO Jim Carr. “Our women’s golf championship will be a very strong experience for all athletes and fans due to the facilities and area which the event will be held. We look forward to growing our relationship with Keiser and the PBCS.”
For the past two seasons, the national championships have been held at the Savannah Quarters Country Club in Pooler, Ga. Even though the event will be moving a little more south, the same high-level of competition will still be expected. The selection guarantees Palm Beach Gardens to be the host for at least the next two seasons.
Out of West Palm Beach, Fla., Keiser University is an NAIA member and a part of The Sun Conference. The Seahawks have won the national championship the past two seasons and three in school history. After the 2016 season, Seahawk head coach Brandon Miller was named NAIA Coach of the Year for the second-straight year.
“We are very proud to be bringing the NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships to West Palm Beach for the 2017 and 2018 seasons at PGA National,” said Kris Swogger, Athletic Director at Keiser University. “The Palm Beach Sports Commission and Keiser University have partnered on many great events in Palm Beach County, and we look forward to putting on an event that the community and student-athletes from around the country will enjoy.”
Head women’s golf coach Brandon Miller is also excited about the announcement of Keiser University being named host for the event.
“It’s a great honor for our school and community. We are looking forward to doing everything we can to provide an exceptional experience for all of the student-athletes,” said Miller. “West Palm Beach is a golfer’s paradise and it has everything you can think of to be a great host city; the beach, amazing restaurants, great shopping, and plenty of sunshine. PGA National has hosted some of the world’s largest and most prestigious golf events, including the Ryder Cup. It’s a world class venue that will surely provide an outstanding test of golf for all of the players.”
Keiser will be teaming up with the Palm Beach County Sports Commission as hosts. The commission is headquartered in West Palm Beach and was created in 1985 and privatized in 1991. In the organization’s time, nearly four billion visitors have traveled to Palm Beach County for events sponsored by the commission, and has had a $780 million economic impact to the county. The main goal for the commission is to maximize the facilities housed within Palm Beach County and attract even more corporate sponsors.
“The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is thrilled to host another NAIA National Championship, as it showcases Palm Beach County as an elite sports destination,” said George Linley, Executive Director of Palm Beach County Sports Commission. “This is a positive result of our great partnership with Keiser University. Very few communities have the privilege of hosting a collegiate national championship and we are thrilled the NAIA Women’s National Golf Championships will call the Palm Beaches home in 2017 and 2018.”
As for the venue, the PGA National-Fazio Course will be where all the action happens. Opened in November of 2012, the Fazio Course is the newest on the PGA National Resort & Spa’s property. 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.
Currently, the NAIA has 163 members participating in women’s golf. The annual event is 72 holes in stroke play that occurs over four days and ending with the final round on the Friday of each week.
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.
To learn more about NAIA Women’s Golf, click here.
To learn more about the host, Palm Beach County Sports Commission, click here.
To learn more about the host, Keiser University, click here.